Sickle Cell & Health Awareness

The Sickle Cell and Health Awareness Program (SCHAP), hosted in the ULGSO Social INNovation Center funds SCHAP and is targeted at African-Americans to address the health disparities identified in “The State of Black Cincinnati: Two Cities" report. This new health initiative will help to raise awareness for onset diagnosis of medical conditions with high incidences in the Black population such as diabetes and heart disease. The program will also include health education classes in four high schools, hotline, and trauma referral services for families in crisis, and collaborations with local and state legislative partners to ensure the Urban League's advocacy efforts address disparities that impact the African American community.


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The League will continue its ongoing sickle cell awareness education campaign. Sickle cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder caused by a defect in the gene that carries hemoglobin. The defective gene changes the shape of the red blood cells from circular to crescent or sickle shaped. With this change in shape, the red blood cells deliver less oxygen to the body’s tissues and there is an increased chance of the cell getting caught in the small blood vessels and breaking apart, both of which can interrupt blood flow. This decreases the amount of oxygen flowing to the tissues.

Sickle cell anemia is most common among people of African and Mediterranean descent. It is also common in people from South America or Central American countries, the Caribbean and the Middle East. In the United States, sickle cell disease affects around 90,000 people, most of whom have ancestors from Africa. About 1 in 12 African Americans, carry the sickle cell trait.

The symptoms occur in painful episodes, called crises, which can last from hours to days. Crises can cause pain in the bones of the back, long bones, and the chest. Due to a better understanding and management of the disease, the prognosis for sickle cell anemia is better today than it was in the past.

The Sickle Cell Awareness Group is located inside the Urban League’s Buford Gaston Sickle Cell & Social Innovation Center at 3770 Reading Road. Call (513) 281-9955 to connect with the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Greater Cincinnati.