Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a painful disease afflicting over 100,000 Americans. Patients often deal with painful periods of vaso-occlusion associated with stigma, racism, and other adverse social outcomes. SCD is the most commonly detected condition in newborn screening programs. Although it is often associated with Black individuals, it is still commonly detected in the general population.
The authors note that the highly racialized society in which we live harms patients with SCD, who are mostly Black. These individuals often must deal with socioeconomic challenges in addition to their chronic medical conditions. The authors describe how structural and interpersonal racism affect healthcare access for individuals with SCD and share proposed solutions.
These solutions range from forms of structural change that impact access to healthcare, to ways that individuals can address interpersonal racism in their workplaces. The authors assert that concrete actions related to funding and psychosocial support systems are needed to significantly improve the lives of people with SCD .
Source: Power-Hays, A., & McGann, P. T. (2020). When Actions Speak Louder Than Words — Racism and Sickle Cell Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(20), 1902–1903. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmp2022125