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Sickle Cell Disease Association of America holds national convention

HANOVER, Md. — The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, a national nonprofit membership organization that advocates for people affected by sickle cell disease, will hold its annual national convention on Wednesday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

The four-day multidisciplinary convention — following the theme “CommUNITY: Together on the Path to Progress” this year — will address sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait, drawing hundreds of health care professionals, patients, families, community-based organizations, leaders and advocates.

“We’re highlighting the importance of working together this year as we move into a new era of sickle cell history with new efforts in research and treatment ongoing,” said Regina Hartfield, president and CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. “For 50 years, the association has been the leading advocacy voice in these advances, and the national convention will offer myriad activities designed to educate and motivate the entire community.”

Convention speakers and presentations will include:

  • Vence L. Bonham, acting deputy director and associate investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute with the National Institutes of Health, will deliver the Charles F. Whitten, M.D., Memorial Lecture: “Leave No One Behind.”
  • Dr. Oladipo Cole, an adult hematology and oncology fellow at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, will present “The Journey with Many Roles: From Sickness to Insight” at the Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, M.D., Memorial Symposium.
  • Dr. Foluso “Joy” Ogunsile, medical director of Memorial Healthcare System’s Sickle Cell Day Center in Florida, will deliver the Clarice D. Reid, M.D., Lecture: “Physical Activity and Sickle Cell: Let’s Bust Some Myths!”
  • Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, global chief medical affairs officer for patient advocacy and external collaborations at Pfizer, will moderate a panel of experts during the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America’s third and final Masterclass: “The Perfect Red Blood Cell: A Sickle Cell Dream Redefined.”
  • Dr. Aisha T. Terry, president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians, will deliver the keynote address at the “Frameworks to Improve the Emergency Department Experience for Sickle Cell Disease” summit held jointly with the Emergency Department Sickle Cell Care Coalition.

The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America will exhibit the artwork of Hertz Nazaire at the convention. Known for his advocacy work and “Finding Your Colors” adult coloring book series, Nazaire created mixed-media visual art reflective of his personal experiences with pain and sickle cell disease. Nazaire died of sickle cell-related complications in 2021.

Additional convention events include exhibit hall presentations, advocacy lectures, clinical trial updates, educational workshops, medical reports, panel discussions, award presentations, social events and an evening gala. Participants will have the opportunity to connect and interact with health care leaders and professionals and gain new relationships, knowledge and resources. For those who cannot attend in person, many convention components will be offered virtually.

Pfizer is the presenting sponsor of the national convention. To learn more and register,

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disease causing red blood cells to take a sickle shape, which leads to blockages that prevent blood from reaching parts of the body. As a result, people with sickle cell complications can experience anemia, jaundice, gallstones, stroke, chronic pain, organ damage and premature death. No universal cure exists.

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America advocates for people affected by sickle cell conditions and empowers community-based organizations to maximize quality of life and raise public consciousness while advancing the search for a universal cure. The association and more than 50 member organizations support sickle cell research, public and professional health education and patient and community services.(

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