Are there new sickle cell disease treatments available for people of color? | Basic Black | GBH

As an inherited blood disease that affects red blood cells, sickle cell disease can affect every organ in your body, and yet SCD has fallen off the radar for the medical community. In September, President Biden declared National Sickle Cell Awareness Month recognizing how the disease impacts the lives of nearly 100,000 people, predominantly of Black and Brown descent in the United States, and increases to about 3.5 million people around the world. According to the CDC, “about 1 in 13 Black children tests positive for the sickle cell trait, and about 1 in 365 Black Americans develops the disease over the course of their lifetime.” Despite the statistics, people living with SCD are putting up a good fight for awareness in the mainstream by advocating for universal health screenings for sickle cell traits in newborns, participating in clinical trials, and finding support and resources among caregivers and other SCD survivors.

This week on Basic Black, we discuss sickle cell disease and its impact on people of color. Host Crystal Haynes will be joined by: State Representative Bud Williams of the 11th Hampden district and Chairperson on the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights, and Inclusion; Dima Hendricks, a health advocate, activist, sickle cell warrior and founder of Through the Pain; Dr. Sharl Azar, Medical Director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Center at Massachusetts General Hospital; and Carissa Juarez, mother of child living with sickle cell disease and patient ambassador for Massachusetts Sickle Cell Association, formerly the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Disease Association.

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