California SCD Clinic, Backed by State Grant, Aims to Support Patients

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by Mary Chapman |

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A comprehensive integrated sickle cell disease (SCD) clinic in southern California — funded by a $500,000 state grant — has been established to support the “highly affected” SCD patient population in San Bernardino County, according to a press release.

The community clinic is housed at Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC).

The one-year state grant, awarded in 2021, was specifically targeted to improve care access for the large number of sickle cell patients in what is called the Inland Empire — a California region that centers around the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 486 babies with SCD were born in California between 2004 and 2008, the majority of them in the Inland region. Of those newborns, 89% were Black and 8% were Hispanic.

“The development of this center marks a new paradigm in caring for individuals with sickle cell disease in the Inland region,” said Chanell Grismore, the clinic’s director of sickle cell services. “This is an opportunity for LLUMC to provide the comprehensive and compassionate care those affected deserve.”

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The care center’s design is based on a medical home model of care in a community setting. This design provides patients with integrated comprehensive care by a team that includes SCD specialists, community health workers, experts in behavioral health, hematologists, a family nurse practitioner, and internal medicine physicians.

“Living with a lifelong condition like sickle cell disease can be challenging,” the SCD clinic webpage states. “Our comprehensive sickle cell clinic is here to help you feel your best, offering medical treatment alongside behavioral, emotional, and social support.”

The clinic also is offering an online Sickle Cell Education Series through its virtual patient and family support group.

“Our team of experts helps adults learn to successfully manage their health, reduce urgent or emergency care visits, and improve their quality of life,” the website says. “Your care plan is tailored to your needs, relieving pain and helping avoid complications caused by sickle cell disease.”

As part of its care services, the clinic offers a dedicated therapy infusion center and opportunities to participate in clinical trials. It also provides social and behavioral health resources, referrals to subspecialty clinics, pharmacy services, care management, and telemedicine.

“San Bernardino County was specifically identified among five regions in the state by the legislature as a funding priority because of the large number of individuals with sickle cell disease in the region,” said Lyndon Edwards, senior vice president of adult hospital services at LLUMC.