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On September 5, a dedication and consecration service was held for the opening of the long awaited Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center. Public funding for the Center was launched in 2010 with a $250,000 gift from local mortgage banker Jim McGehee. In April 2011 the Methodist Healthcare Foundation received a $1 million challenge grant from the Plough Foundation to establish an endowed chair in hematology. That challenge grant was recently met by the Foundation and a total of $3 million has been raised to date.
The goal of the Sickle Cell Center is to enhance quality of life and reduce admission rates for sickle cell patients. Sickle cell disease, a genetic disorder that leads to the formation of irregularly-shaped red blood cells, affects about 1 in every 350 African-Americans. Right here in Memphis, we have one of the largest populations of sickle cell disease patients in the country.
The Center is located on the Methodist University Hospital campus and will operate as an outpatient clinic to provide preventative health maintenance specific to sickle cell disease in a primary care setting. It will also offer a specially designed 9-chair infusion unit for sickle cell pain crisis management. The clinic is the only one of its type within a 300-mile radius and one of only a small handful of centers like this in the United States.
The Sickle Cell Center will provide comprehensive preventative outpatient disease management weekdays from 8 am- 5 pm for adults and will partner with existing resources such as the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee. The Center will also partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to provide care to teens transitioning from pediatric care.
Daily life for sickle cell patients is often interrupted by unpredictable bouts of pain that last a few hours to many weeks — threatening their family life, career, education and social life. The Methodist Healthcare Sickle Cell Center is committed to helping to enhance the quality of life for these patients by providing continuity of care that wasn’t available before. To find out more about the Center and how you can help, visit www.methodisthealth.org/sicklecell or call 901-516-0508.
Photo:(l-r) Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, CEO of Methodist University Hospital; Gary Shorb, president and CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Mark Yancy, manager of Operations, Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center of Memphis and Luke Yancy, MLH Board Chair and president Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum, at the opening of the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center.