The Special-Interest Session on Sickle Cell Disease Centers comes about in response to the positive effect that specialized clinical centers have had on increasing access to care for hematologic and nonhematologic diseases alike, including for adults with sickle cell disease (SCD). However, there is a gap when it comes to the formation of these centers for the care of adults with SCD, lagging behind advances leading to the potential for greater longevity and improved quality of life. There are also gaps within patients’ ability to smoothly transition out of pediatric care, which can lead to early mortality.

A Saturday, December 7 session will serve as a follow-up to the Sickle Cell Disease Centers Workshop, which took place in November at ASH headquarters. The workshop was designed to help interested institutions advance their plans to create specialized clinical centers for adults living with SCD.

Biree Andemariam, MD, of University of Connecticut Health Center, and Susan Claster, MD, of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Adult Sickle Cell Disease Center are chairing this session. Speakers, James Eckman, MD, of Emory University School of Medicine, Mary Brown, of the Sickle Cell Foundation of California, Shawn Bediako, PhD, of University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Dr. Claster, will cover an array of related topics, including acute care treatment models beyond infusion centers, developing an SCD program in a community setting, and addressing unconscious bias in your colleagues.

Dr. Andemariam emphasized the importance of holding this Special-Interest Session at the annual meeting, saying, “This session is an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of developing a medical home for adults with sickle cell disease and how to engage new stakeholders critical to that process. It has become increasingly more important that we have accessible specialty care for these patients as novel disease-modifying and curative-intent therapies emerge. I am hopeful that there will be much-needed new interest among hematologists to care for adults with sickle cell disease.”

ASH SCD Centers Workshop Co-Director and ASH SCD Health Professional Education and Training Working Group Co-Chair, Wally Smith, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, also stressed the importance of this workshop and follow-up session. “The workshop was a great opportunity to start building another generation of adult sickle cell providers. We built community, started a network, and helped people see the light at the end of the tunnel. I look forward to continuing this discussion at the annual meeting,” he stated.

Special-Interest Session on Sickle Cell Disease

The Special-Interest Session on Sickle Cell Disease Centers will serve as a follow-up to the Sickle Cell Disease Centers Workshop, which took place in November at ASH headquarters. It will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, December 7 (Tangerine 3 [WF3-4], Level 2, Orange County Convention Center – map it ).

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