Meharry Sickle Cell Center

The Meharry Sickle Cell Center (MSCC) houses the Confirmatory and Reference Laboratory for Hemoglobinopathies for the State of Tennessee Newborn Screening Program. Every year the MSCC receives blood samples from all over the state for confirmation or diagnosis of a variety of hemoglobinopathies. In the Middle Tennessee region, after the final diagnosis has been made, a nurse contacts the affected family for follow-up care with a pediatric hematologist knowledgeable in treating these disorders.  If the family has a pediatrician in place, the MSCC assists in integrating health care between the pediatric hematologist and the family pediatrician. Adults affected with hemoglobin disorders can seek health care from the on-site adult hematologist at the Nashville General Hospital-Adult Sickle Cell Clinic.

The MSCC also provides counseling, and education to affected families in the region, and participates in numerous community screenings for sickle cell and other hemoglobin traits throughout the year.

The Sickle Cell Screening Program at Meharry started in 1971, and the Meharry Sickle Cell Center was established in 1972. The Center continues to be involved in several important initiatives to improve sickle cell care and patient’s quality of life in the country.


The Meharry Sickle Cell Center hemoglobinopathy testing focuses on newborn screening for sickle cell disease and other hemoglobin disorders. Limited community hemoglobinopathy screening is available upon request and according to available resources.




Hemoglobinopathies: Current Practices for Screening, Confirmation and Follow-Up

American Academy of Family Physicians
Tips for preventing a sickle cell crisis

Sickle Cell Kids
Information about Sickle Cell disease and tips to stay healthy in a fun and interactive way

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Sickle Cell information tips for healthy living and resources

American Sickle Cell Anemia Association
Information and support groups.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Sickle Cell Disease

Blood Disorders

PHRESH Project

Thalassemia Data Collection & Blood Safety Monitoring



Improving Care for People with Sickle Cell Disease
YouTube video about Sickle Cell

Module 1: Sickle Cell and Me
This video discusses the basics of sickle disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. The video provides a general definition of sickle cell disease; a sickled red blood cell; who is affected by sickle cell disease; and common signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease.

Module 2: Healthy Living and Sickle Cell Disease
This video discusses healthy living and sickle cell disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. It reviews the importance of nutrition and exercise for a teen with sickle cell disease; the effects of alcohol and tobacco use in a person with sickle cell disease; and the changes that occur during puberty in teens with sickle cell disease.

Module 3: Pain, Infection and Sickle Cell Disease
This video discusses pain and infection in a teen with sickle cell disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. It reviews possible pain triggers, the importance of preventative pain measures, and treatment for mild or moderate pain episodes for a teen with sickle cell disease. Additionally, the video discusses signs and symptoms of infection in a person with sickle cell disease and the importance of knowing the proper response to signs of infection.

Module 4: Other Complications of Sickle Cell Disease (excluding Pain and Infection discussed in Module 3)
This video discusses some additional complications that may occur in a teen with sickle cell disease. Also, the video has pre and post quizzes to allow for use as a teaching tool. The video provides a preliminary discussion of the following complications and symptoms that may occur in a teen with sickle cell disease:  stroke, avascular necrosis, acute chest syndrome, retinopathy, priapism, osteomyelitis, leg ulcers, gallstones, and some renal complication. Additionally, the video discusses some common treatments for these complications.

Additional Resources

American Society of Hematology

Sickle Cell Foundation of Tennessee

Breaking The Sickle Cell Cycle Foundation, Inc.

Contact Us

The Sickle Cell Center at Meharry offers blood testing, genetic counseling, and education about sickle cell and other blood disorders.

  • To make an appointment to see the newborn screening Follow-Up Nurse, please call 615.327.6763.
  • To make a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s appointment for an adult sickle cell patient, please call 615.341.4383.
  • To talk to someone about hosting an educational event in your community, call 615.327.6763.
  • If you are a health professional seeking instruction for CMEs, call 615.327.6763.

Meharry Sickle Cell Center Staff

Maria del Pilar Aguinaga, M.Sc., MT (ASCP), MB (ASCP), DLM (ASCP), Ph.D
Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Professor, Center Director and Laboratory Director, Meharry Sickle Cell Center, Department of Internal Medicine
Fax: 615.327.6593

Richard L. Martin, M.D., MPH Medical Director, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, MSCC
615.327.5894 | Hematology Clinic: 615.341.4383
Hematology Clinic Fax: 615-341-4385

Sonya Inman, Medical Assistant, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6008

Ronlanda Foley, BSN, Follow-Up Nurse, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.3276008

Robert Mushi, MT (ASCP), Ph.D. Laboratory Supervisor, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6949

Celestine C. Mgbemere, MT, MSPH Laboratory Technologist II, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6949

Lisa A. Walker, BBA Program Coordinator, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6008