MTS Sickle Cell Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness, support, and sensitivity surrounding Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), has received a $50,000 research grant from UnitedHealthcare to develop a Community Health Worker (CHW) research program to better understand the critical role CHWs play in the evidence-based management of Sickle Cell Disease. The grant was awarded as part of the company’s commitment to reducing health disparities in Georgia and helping people live healthier lives through investments in local community-based organizations that provide access to care and resources.
“We recognize that the sickle cell patient population faces disparities in and out of the healthcare system,” said Mapillar Dahn, Founder/CEO of MTS Sickle Cell Foundation. “We are so grateful to UnitedHealthcare for this grant as it allows us to understand the pivotal role Community Health Workers have in helping these patients access care, address socioeconomic needs, and provide connections to much needed resources.”
The grant will allow MTS Sickle Cell Foundation to assess the effectiveness of CHWs in improving health outcomes and addressing health disparities for people living with SCD. The foundation is collaborating with Dr. Tilicia Mayo-Gamble, Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University, to ensure implementation is evidence-based. Dr. Mayo-Gamble’s background includes 11 years of patient and community-engaged research as well as facilitating training of sickle cell community health ambassadors (health workers) to develop a Sickle Cell Disease Network in Tennessee.
“We are honored to support the MTS Sickle Cell Foundation and its commitment to build upon the existing knowledge and understanding of sickle cell disease to drive improved health outcomes,” said Michael Cotton, regional chief executive officer, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “This grant highlights our commitment to helping Georgians gain access to essential, high-quality care and services.”
As the most common inherited blood disorder, SCD1 is a life-threatening chronic illness that affects millions around the world. In the United States, SCD affects roughly 100,000 Americans, occurring disproportionately in Black and Brown populations with 1 in 365 Black and African American births and 1 in 14,000 Hispanic American births2. As a result of systemic and health inequities, SCD has not received the robust attention to support funding for research, access to quality care from diagnosis and beyond, and education3. These factors have created a very marginalized community that struggles frequently in and out of the healthcare system due to a host of complications that often begin months after birth. Complications from SCD include chronic pain crises, infections, stroke, acute chest syndrome, ulcers, organ damage, blindness, and more, making the life expectancy4of those living with the disease approximately 40 years shorter than the average U.S. adult lifespan5.
The CHW Research Program aims to address health disparities in marginalized communities, reduce complications and expand access to care. For more information about MTS Sickle Cell Foundation’s Community Health Worker Program, visit https://mythreesicklers.org/chw/.
About MTS Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc.
Inspired by her three daughters who battle sickle cell disease, Mapillar Dahn founded MTS Sickle Cell Foundation, Inc., a national non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Sickle Cell Disease and supporting families who are impacted by this global health issue. Since 2015, the organization has built a very engaged online presence of over 40 thousand users from all over the world, with awareness efforts reaching tens of millions across the globe through television, social media, billboard advertisements, speaking engagements, and more. MTS Sickle Cell Foundation has sponsored over 100 children battling sickle cell disease to a
week-long summer camp, provides financial and academic support to Sickle Cell patients and their families, and more. For more information, visit MTS Sickle Cell Foundation at
www.mythreesicklers.org or follow @mythreesicklers on Instagram.