The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Nursing has secured a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve emergency care for people with sickle cell disease (SCD) in the Mid-South Delta region.

College of Nursing Community and Global Partnerships assistant dean Sara Day is the principal investigator for the $364,502 grant.

In collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Baptist Memorial Health Care, the college will train 240 healthcare professionals over a two-year period.

Dr Day said: “This grant is designed to help eliminate the health disparities we see for people with sickle cell disease and to improve the quality of care they receive.”

The grant aims to educate primary care providers on SCD management, offer emergency management workshops to Baptist hospitals, and support the Sickle Cell Boot Camp for Nursing Excellence.

Initiated in 2022, the Sickle Cell Boot Camp is a one-week course educating nurses about SCD due to limited coverage in nursing schools.

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In addition, this initiative will address the lack of SCD education in nursing schools and focus on enhancing emergency care for SCD patients.

St. Jude Department of Haematology patient services director Yvonne Carroll said: “Sickle cell is a disease of comorbidities, and health care professionals must have a high level of disease-specific knowledge to care for people with sickle cell disease.”