sickle cell disease

New England Sickle Cell Institute News

Dr. Biree Andemariam
Dr. Biree Andemariam

UConn Health’s Dr. Biree Andemariam Honored as Outstanding Role Model

Dr. Biree Andemariam, director of UConn Health’s New England Sickle Cell Institute was honored at the 100 Women of Color Gala recently held in Hartford. The 100 Women of Color award recognizes women who are leaders in their community and are a positive role model for young women. A portion of the proceeds from this annual event supports scholarships for young women who graduate from high school and plan on attending college, leadership and mentorship programs.


New England Sickle Cell Institute Nurses Present at National Meeting

Photo of Nayre Greene, RN, BSN (J. Gelineau/UConn Health
Nayre Greene, RN, BSN

Nayre Greene, RN, BSN, and Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN, recently represented UConn Health’s New England Sickle Cell Institute at the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc.’s 43rd Anniversary Convention in Maryland. Greene, NESCI nurse coordinator, was the moderator for the meeting’s nursing symposium that highlighted five peer-reviewed oral abstracts presented by leaders in sickle cell disease nursing care and research from around the country. Greene’s talk highlighted multidisciplinary efforts at UConn Health in coordinating safe maternal-fetal outcomes among pregnant women living with sickle cell disease.

Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN (Janine. Gelineau/UConn Health)
Elizabeth Brookshire, MSN, BSN, RN

Brookshire delivered a powerful talk titled, “The Nurse’s Role in Caring for the Patient with Sickle Cell Disease: Utilizing Katherine Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort as a Guide.” Brookshire is the assistant nurse manager of John Dempsey Hospital’s oncology unit.

“NESCI is proud of the role that UConn Health nurses play on a daily basis in providing evidence-based and compassionate care to our patients living with sickle cell disease,” says NESCI director Dr. Biree Andemariam, “and now this work is known across the country.”


Raising Sickle Cell Disease Awareness

The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Hartford and New England Sickle Cell Institute faculty and staff pose for a photo at the First Annual Ride for Sickle Cell Research. (Wanita Thorpe/UConn Health)

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disorder that can cause severe pain and permanent damage to the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, bones and spleen. SCD is most common in Africans and African-Americans, however, it is also found in other ethnic and racial groups, including people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Mediterranean countries, and India.

Individuals who have SCD need multidisciplinary care throughout their lives to treat and prevent complications from the disease and manage their pain. Most institutions provide only pediatric sickle cell treatment. At UConn Health, Dr. Biree Andemariam, assistant professor of medicine, is among a small number of physician-scientists nationally who specialize in caring for adults living with SCD. She leads the only comprehensive adult sickle cell program in northern Connecticut. The team-based approach includes a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and community-based patient navigators working together.

Mary Samson in infusion room #0037
The New England Sickle Cell Institute welcomes its newest staff member, nurse practitioner Mary Samson. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health)

The New England Sickle Cell Institute (NESCI) attracts patients and families from across Connecticut and beyond. NESCI is also home to basic, translational, and clinical research aimed at elucidating basic mechanisms of the disease and developing novel therapeutic options for this orphan disease. NESCI’s success rests in its unique, heartfelt dedication of it’s staff: nurse coordinator Nayre Greene, social worker Teresa Works, infusion nurse Ruby Faye Noviasky, medical assistant Iris Reyes, clinical research assistant Sasia Jones, in addition to its newest member, nurse practitioner Mary Samson.

“The New England Sickle Cell Institute provides a full range of comprehensive care that focuses on prevention as well as acute care,” says Andemariam. “We are the only site in the region to offer erythrocytapheresis, a procedure commonly used to remove red blood cells in patients experiencing sickle cell crisis,” added Andemariam. “The support of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, John Dempsey Hospital and UConn School of Medicine has been instrumental in our ability to provide desperately needed care for a long-neglected subset of our community. This is evidenced by newly designated space to provide dedicated acute and chronic disease management. With this support, the future of adults living with sickle cell disease is bright.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 860-679-2100.