Teonna Woolford was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland. She has always been talkative, friendly, and full of life. She has Sickle Cell Anemia SS and has faced numerous health complications as a result.
A true fighter at heart, she has recovered from numerous complications including bilateral hip replacements, a failed bone marrow transplant, many pain crises, and several other complications. She has a zeal for effecting change throughout the Sickle Cell community and understands the realities of those impacted by the disease.
While sickle cell has been a huge part of Teonna’s life, she does her best not to let sickle cell define who she is. Teonna has had opportunities to discuss sickle cell advocacy with world leaders including Former First Lady Michlle Obama and Congressman John Lewis. She has been blessed to sit at some incredible tables and contributed to publications and working committees with the American Society of Hematology and NHLBI. She is also the founder and CEO of a new nonprofit organization, The Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive.
Dr. Kim Smith- Whitley is a board certified pediatric hematologist with a focus on research and clinical work centered on sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait.
Currently EVP and head of research and development at Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), focusing on addressing the needs of the sickle cell community and developing therapies for this underserved patient population.
Most recently she served as clinical director of hematology and director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Former Chief Medical Officer of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA). Recently served as a member of the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Advisory Council and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Addressing Sickle Cell Disease Committee. Author of more than 80 peer-reviewed papers.
Dr. Lydia H. Pecker is a hematologist in Baltimore. She is the founding Director of the Clinic for Young Adults at the Johns Hopkins Sickle Cell Center for Adults. Dr. Pecker earned her B.A. with honors in Africana Studies from Brown University and her M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
She completed her general pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Washington D.C. and Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Pecker joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2016. Her NIH- and American Society of Hematology-funded research focuses on reproductive health in girls and women with sickle cell disease. She mentors medical students and residents interested in clinical and research careers in sickle cell disease. In 2021, in partnership with Ms. Teonna Woolford and Dr. Kim Smith-Whitley, she co-founded the Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive.
D’Asia Jackson was born and raised in Detroit MICHIGAN.
Since a child she has always wanted to work in the medical field, especially pediatric. She fell in love with that career choice because of all the amazing staff at the children’s hospital of Michigan; where she stayed during her sickle cell crisis. Some nurses and doctors have made such a huge impact on her life to the point she’s still in touch with them from many many years ago. The impact they have on her life, she wants to have the same impact on her patients.
Currently in school for nursing & working as a pediatric medical assistant, D’Asia spends her time hanging with friends and family, and loves social media. This year she got the idea to start helping her business friends push their businesses on social media platforms. Recently networking with the CEO, she wanted to help out the organization with their social media platforms so we can get better awareness in the community.
She loves learning new things about sickle cell and the new ways to help our warriors & very excited to start learning about advocacy.
DeMitrious Wyant is a patient/ advocate from Des Moines, Iowa, who currently resides in Orlando Florida. DeMitrious has Sickle Cell Disease type SS and has battled with the disease his whole life.
Despite being In and out of the hospital with countless surgeries and blood transfusions, DeMitrious is a business owner and operator of YOUNG BLACK AND TALENTED LLC. With special services as a Personal Chef and Catering with “Your Best Taste Catering” in Orlando Florida.
A Supernatural human with many talents; DeMitrious is a Published Music Writer with music streaming on ITunes, Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal expressing his life with Sickle Cell. Mr. Wyant is also on Youtube with a Podcast Titled “The Souljah Strong Way ” where he educates the world on Sickle Cell and healthy alternatives to live well with the disease. He also directed, shot and edited an educational Documentary on his battle with Priapism (a
symptom in males caused by sickle cell) titled “A Day In The Life Of A Sickle Cell Souljah:
Priapism Edition”. Following the Documentary, Mr. Wyant created an educational video,
presentation, and brochure for males on how to manage Priapism and what steps to take before going to the hospital titled “Save The Male Trunks” powered by the SCCC.
All this can be found on his website artheprophet.com
DeMitrious plans to continue to be a voice for Sickle Cell and educate the world on the disease, while encouraging his fellow warriors to take care of themselves and keep fighting!
DeMitrious likes to encourage the community to “have faith, trust yourself, live well, eat clean and Never Give Up!”
– Sickle Cell Souljah
#TheSouljahStrongWay #Sickletember #SaveTheMaleTrunks #YBT
Alexis is a powerhouse minister, marketer and millennial. She is most known for her straight-forward and charismatic speaking style, advocating for sickle cell disease, and helping leaders stay accountable to building profitable online brands or healing from trauma.
Alexis currently serves as the teaching staff coordinator for her church Faith Worship Center International in Columbus, GA and is a licensed minister under the leadership of Apostle Michael Grant.
She currently holds her M.A. in Nonprofit Administration from Western Kentucky University and B.S in Mass Communication from Columbus State University. Alexis is married to her amazing husband of 2 years Kendarius Lott. You can find her somewhere eating tacos and encouraging hearts on YouTube or Tiktok for #wisdomwednesdays at 9PM Est.
Ahmar Urooj Zaidi served as assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He is now Medical Director at Agios Pharmecuticals. Dr. Zaidi holds a board certification in pediatrics from American Board of Pediatrics, 2014.
His clinical interests include sickle cell disease, benign hematology, and chronic and acquired hemolytic anemias.
His research interests include novel therapies in sickle cell disease, patient reported outcomes and red blood cell disorders. Dr Zaidi is also associated with North Star Reach as camp physician for sickle cell camp week. He got his medical degree from Medical University of the Americas. He completed his residency in pediatrics from William Beaumont Hospital followed by fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology from Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
Sickle Cell warrior & advocate, Phillip Okwo, is a dynamic systems thinker, strategic finance professional and active champion of SCD community health & wellness for over two decades.
He has mentored transitioning SCD youth from CA, TX, GA and Nigeria, guest lectured on patient experience for SCD medical providers and medical students, and has been a patient contributor to the development of a core set of outcomes to be used in clinical trials of new SCD therapies for the Green Park collaborative between SCDAA and CMTP (Center for Medical Technology Policy).
Phillip participates in the ASH RC Clinical Trials Network’s Patient Engagement & Education Subcommittee and is a member of the NHLBI CureSCi Community Input Panel. He is also a board member of the Sickle Cell Association of Houston and Vice Chair of the Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive.
Amy Cox-Klug is the proud mother of a son with Sickle Cell SS. She has been active in the Sickle Cell community since shortly after his diagnosis.
Amy has a PhD in US History from UCLA, and enjoys putting her research and writing experience to work to advocate for causes she loves. She spent time as a Content Advisor for Sickle Cell 101 and currently sits on the board of Juna Amagara Ministries, a non-profit which serves orphans in western Uganda. Amy is excited about the opportunity to advance equity for Sickle Cell patients as part of the SC RED team.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Shayla Brooks has had a vast range of experiences. After graduating from high school in 2010, Shayla joined the United States Navy. She served her country as a Hospital Corpsman.
Her work in the Emergency Department at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA exposed her to a wide range of patient experiences. She saw firsthand how socioeconomic status played a role in access to care.
After serving her time in the armed forces, Shayla went on to pursue her passion in mortuary science. She received her Funeral Apprentice license in February of 2021 from the state of Maryland and is currently enrolled in the mortuary science program at The Community College of Baltimore County. Shayla maintains her interest in the ever-evolving realm of medicine and access to care and is excited by the potential impact of The Sickle Cell Disease Reproductive Health Education Directive, where she serves as treasurer of the board.
Cynthia Hall, PharmD, JD, MS is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Florida A & M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health in Tallahassee and Crestview, Florida where she teaches in the areas of pharmacy jurisprudence (law) and ethics.
She also precepts pharmacy students on medicine, ambulatory care, and medication therapy management rotations. Additionally, Cynthia adjunctively teaches health care policy and health law at the University of Wyoming and Creighton University, respectively. Her interests include advocacy for patients with sickle cell disease, healthcare policy, and research ethics.
Prof. Page has been active in the sickle cell community for more than 21 years. She has a son who has sickle cell which prompted her to become an advocate and activist for those affected with and impacted by Sickle Cell Anemia.
In her capacity as mom, attorney and sickle cell advocate, Prof. Page has met with Presidents Obama and Clinton, Congressman John Lewis as well as many other Congressmen and women in regards to assisting those living with this disease. Prof. Page has authored numerous articles that address health disparities and the discrimination certain segments of our population experience as a result of bias, prejudice and systemic racism. Her most recent article looks at the disproportionate impact COVID-19 is having on African American females (globally and internationally).
Phillip Sanders was born and raised in Little Rock, AR. He was born with sickle cell SB thalassemia plus. He is now sickle cell free after undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
He and his wife Saluta, have a healthy two-year-old son, Phillip Jr. He has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
Phillip has been cured of sickle cell through a haplo bone marrow transplant. Feeling motivated and energized, he looks forward to becoming an advocate for sickle cell, specifically giving a voice to the males of this community. Phillip now serves on the founding board of the Sickle Cell Reproductive Health Education Directive.
Dr. Campbell is a graduate of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine completed his residency training at Harvard Affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston followed by Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Northwestern University.
He is the Director of Comprehensive Sickle Cell Program at Childrens National Hospital(CNH) in Washington DC and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine.
He is currently the Research Lead with the Global Health Initiative at CNH. He leads a large clinical and translational research program at CNH with over 1500 SCD patients. He has extensive research experience in Sickle Cell Research in Ghana. Before his move to Washington, he directed the University of Michigan Comprehensive Pediatric Hemoglobinopathies Program and Co-Directed the University of Michigan Minority Health International Research Training Program.
For the past several years he has focused his research in understanding the varied phenotypic expression of SCD in different populations through multinational CASiRe (Consortium for the Advancement of Sickle Cell Disease Research) International Consortium which he directs including— (1) Europe- Italy, UK (2) North America- USA, and (3) Africa- Ghana; He is also director of the ASH DMV Sickle Cell Clinical Trials Network and part of Sickle in Africa/SPARCO group as a contributor to the Sickle Cell Disease Ontology working group.
From an early age Dr. Wanda Whitten- Shurney was exposed to the sickle cell movement. As her visionary father Dr. Charles Whitten recognized the need for national awareness and support when he co-founded the National Association for Sickle Cell Disease, now known as The Sickle Cell Disease Association of America.
Shurney has over 30 years of experience providing high quality and compassionate care at Comprehensive Sickle Cell Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
Dr. Shurney is the product of the Detroit Public School system. She won first prize for her project on sickle cell disease at the Durfee junior high school science fair. Dr. Shurney completed her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and attended Medical School at Howard University. She received her pediatric residency training at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and spent a year in their Hematology Oncology Fellowship.
Dr. Whitten-Shurney also serves as the CEO and Medical Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America Michigan Chapter. The SCDAAMI serves as the coordinating center for the Newborn Sickle Cell Screening Program for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and is responsible for confirmatory testing, education, and initiation of life saving treatment of close to 2,000 newborns. She serves on the Medical and Research Advisory Committee and Chairs the Executive Leadership Council for the National SCDAA. She was recently appointed to the National Institute of Health’s Advisory Committee for sickle cell disease.
Dr. Lilian Meacham is a pediatric endocrinologist who has worked in the field of late effects of cancer therapy for over thirty years. Her current focus is on fertility preservation and reproductive health in patients treated for cancer or treated with cancer modalities.
Dr. Meacham’s career in this field began as the endocrinologist in a multidisciplinary neuro-oncology clinic in 1990. In 2001, she was asked to develop a multi-disciplinary pediatric cancer survivor program where we now have over 1000 visits a year.
In 2015 she was asked to create a centralized Fertility Preservation Consult Team for the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. They provide information about risk for infertility based on planned treatment, and counsel patients about fertility preservation options for oncology and non-oncology patients going for a bone marrow transplant. They have a focus on standard of care options sperm and oocyte cryopreservation options and experimental ovarian and tissue cryopreservation for prepubertal girls. Patients also receive counsel regarding oocyte cryopreservation after completion of gonadotoxic therapy.
Dr. Meacham’s interest in survivorship led to the opportunity to serve as the site PI on the multi-institutional NCI funded Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) for the last 20 years. She serves on the expert panel for four of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Taskforces that develop the Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Pediatric Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers including an ovarian late effect taskforce and a testicular late effect taskforce. Lilian also serves on five working groups for the International Guidelines Harmonization Group which works to globally harmonize recommendations for long term surveillance for late effects of cancer treatment.
Lori Crosby, PsyD, is the PI of this lab, co-director of Innovations, co-director of the CCTST Community Engagement Core, and a member of the Center for Self-Management and Adherence, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, and the Chronic Care Research Group.
Diane Chandler is a graduate of Capella’s graduate clinical mental health counseling graduate program, and doctoral program in counseling education and supervision. She specializes in TF-CBT, EMDR, and Gottman couples therapy. She is most fulfilled working with young adults, victims of trauma, and couples.