Vanderbilt and Meharry Team Up to Fight Sickle Cell Disease

Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical College, both located in Nashville, Tennessee, have established the Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease. The center will provide advanced care to sufferers of sickle cell disease and will conduct research on treatments and a possible cure.

While people of any race can have the sickle cell trait, the disease is far more common among African Americans than it is among whites. About one in every 400 African Americans is born with the sickle cell trait.

Michael R. DeBaun has been named director of the new center and vice chair for clinical affairs for the department of pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University medical school. He is currently serving as professor of pediatrics, biostatistics and neurology at Washington University in St. Louis. A native of St. Louis, Dr. DeBaun earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Howard University. He received his medical degree and a master’s degree in health services research from Stanford University. He will begin work in Nashville next month.