UF nursing researcher helps create global interventions for sickle cell disease

Angela Howard was not expected to live past childhood. Diagnosed with sickle cell disease at age 2, her doctors and nurses predicted the painful disease would kill her by age 18. Now 52, Howard has dedicated her life to educating the public about the stigma and misunderstanding associated with sickle cell disease.

She is not alone in this fight. A new commission report from The Lancet Haematology outlines the global burden caused by sickle cell disease and identifies the need for important governmental commitments and investments. It also offers health care-related and education recommendations experts say would improve outcomes for those living with the blood disorder, which mainly occurs in the Black population.

University of Florida College of Nursing researcher Diana Wilkie, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, the Prairieview Trust - Earl and Margo Powers Endowed Professor, is a co-author of the commission report, published July 11. The commission includes 33 co-authors comprising experts in sickle cell disease, as well as patients and activists from around the world.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder that changes red blood cells into a C shape. People with sickle cell disease report being stigmatized due to their race and because they may be seen as drug seekers or addicts when they pursue medications to control pain.


Anna Suggs Hoffman July 14, 2023