Sickle cell disorder is a blood disorder that causes complications that can require a lot of time and effort to manage. At the Sickle Cell Center of Excellence, we make it easier to manage your child’s health and help them thrive.

Our experts, including hematologists, nurse practitioners, nurses and behavioral health staff, offer personalized treatment and constant support to help your child live confidently. We create a supportive community that helps children and their families more effectively manage the complexities of sickle cell disorder.

Why Choose Us

  • Coordinated care, all in one location: With several sickle cell disorder specialists under one roof, there’s less need to travel to multiple locations to see a provider.
  • Personalized care: Our specialists will work with you and your family to ensure your child’s treatment meets their individual needs.
  • Care and support wherever you go: Sickle cell disorder can cause complications anywhere, anytime. We’ll make sure you have the resources you need to get the right care for your child, no matter where you are.
  • Clinical trial opportunities: We’re always researching new treatments for the future of sickle cell disorder care and helping families learn how they can be part of these efforts.

Conditions We Care For

Sickle cell disorder can cause a range of complications that require ongoing management, and some complications require emergency care.

We provide care for some of the most common complications:

  • Acute chest syndrome, when sickle cells stick together in blood vessels in the lungs. It often looks like pneumonia, causing fever, pain, and a cough. Acute chest syndrome requires emergency care.
  • Anemia, the most common sickle cell disorder symptom. Anemia is caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen around the body. As a result, your child may feel weak or tired.
  • Jaundice, when sickle-shaped red blood cells die quicker than the liver can filter them out of the body. The buildup of dead cells can cause the skin, eyes, and mouth to turn yellow.
  • Sickle cell crises, pain crises that can occur when sickle-shaped blood cells get stuck in small blood vessels around the body. These crises cause severe nerve pain or swelling and require urgent treatment.
  • Splenic sequestration, when sickle-shaped red blood cells get stuck in the spleen. Splenic sequestration requires emergency treatment.
  • Stroke, which can happen when sickle cells stick together in large blood vessels and block blood flow to the brain. Strokes require emergency treatment.
  • Thalassemia, caused by the incorrect formation of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen around the body. It can cause symptoms similar to sickle cell disorder, such as anemia.

Treatment and Care We Provide

Sickle cell disorder must be managed every day. We help you and your child learn to manage complications so they can live a healthy life.

We offer the following care and treatment services:

  • Newborn screening: California has designated our center as a sickle cell disorder screening site for newborns.
  • Sickle cell trait program: We offer a support program, the only of its kind in the U.S., to help people with sickle cell trait manage their symptoms. People with sickle cell trait carry the sickle cell gene but do not have sickle cell disorder. They may, however, experience some symptoms.
  • Care safety net: Your child may need urgent or emergency care when complications occur outside our center hours or when you are traveling and can’t visit the center. We’ll provide you with resources to share with other doctors about your child’s needs and current treatment plans to ensure they get the right care.
  • Bone marrow transplants: Bone marrow transplants are the only proven way to cure sickle cell disorder. We’re one of the only clinics in Southern California offering this treatment.
  • Symptom-based treatments: We provide care to help with different symptoms and complications, such as anemia or dehydration. Treatment options include pain medications, infusion therapy, blood transfusions, or supplements to prevent anemia.
  • Social and behavioral support: With the help of social workers and other supportive specialists, we can help connect you with resources to help your child thrive in their daily life.
  • Transition care: We support your child’s transition to managing their sickle cell disorder care as an adult.

What to Expect 

First Visit

Depending on your child’s needs, you’ll meet with a range of specialists, such as a dentist, hematologist, or physiotherapist. Typically, your first meeting at our center lasts an hour or more. During this visit, our specialists will answer any questions you have and start developing a treatment plan for your child.

Follow-Up

Sickle cell disease requires ongoing care to manage symptoms and complications. Most people can expect follow-up appointments every few months, depending on individual needs. Most of your child’s visits will be between 20 and 30 minutes long, and we’ll take the time to address any concerns you may have.

Community Support

Our community outreach team works to ensure you’re supported and receive follow-up in the community. Community health workers work closely with your child, your family, and caregivers to identify and help overcome barriers to your ongoing, coordinated care.

Behavioral Health Support

Our integrated behavioral health team actively works with your child and family to address holistic needs. The team helps assess whether your child could benefit from certain behavioral health treatments.

Our Team

Our experienced and compassionate team members come together to serve you from diverse backgrounds, both culturally and across medical specialties. Our diversity empowers us to provide special sensitivity to your unique needs at every step of your care.

Our team includes:

  • Sickle cell medical team
  • Infusion Center staff
  • Nurse director, practitioner, and clinicians
  • Pediatric dentist
  • Behavioral health experts
  • Physiotherapy support specialists
  • Pharmacist
  • Social workers
  • Case managers

Take the Next Step

Our center offers your child a supportive community of patients, families, and providers. Call us at 909-651-1910 to make an appointment.

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Related Services

Meet Our Doctors

Akshat Jain, MD, MPH

Section Head, Pediatric Hematology

As a global sickle cell disease expert here at our Children’s Hospital, we are here to manage and fight this disease alongside you. We want children and families suffering from this disease to know that they’re not alone.

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