Meharry Sickle Cell Center

The year 2011 saw the launch of an exciting concept for families in Tennessee: the Middle Tennessee Sickle Cell Network for Coordinated Health Care and Education, a pooling of resources by Vanderbilt, Meharry, and Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center to help families living with sickle cell. The network now offers patients a 'medical home,' where in one place they will find specialists familiar with their disease. This breakthrough concept contributes greatly to families affected with sickle cell disease and will likely improve the patient's overall quality of life. Read more about this 'medical home' at Vanderbilt.

At Meharry, the Sickle Cell Center serves as an important gateway to care. All newborns in Tennessee are screened for several genetic disorders, and any abnormal samples, including those showing evidence of sickle cell, are sent to the Meharry Sickle Cell Center (MSCC) for confirmation. Once the final diagnosis has been made, a nurse contacts the affected family for follow-up care with a pediatric hematologist. The family then has the option of building a relationship with the medical team at the Vanderbilt-Meharry-Matthew Walker center or, if it has a pediatrician in place, integrating the center's services with those of the family physician.

Adults and adolescents also may find assistance at Meharry's center, which serves as a liaison between the patient and his or her medical providers.

As the Confirmatory and Reference Laboratory for Hemoglobinopathies for the State of Tennessee Newborn Screening Program, every year the MSCC tests thousands of blood samples from all over the state, providing confirmation or diagnosis for a variety of blood disorders. The MSCC also provides care, counseling, and education to affected families across 40 counties in Middle Tennessee. Created in 1972, the Meharry Sickle Cell Center is one of the oldest centers of its kind in the nation and has been recognized as an honorary chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. The MSCC continues to be involved in several important initiatives to improve sickle cell care in the country. Its recent partnership with Vanderbilt University and Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center is the celebration of 40 years of committed service to the sickle cell community.