The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a coalition of 150,000 African American and Latino churches that constitutes 27.7 million churchgoers hosted a “State of the State of Sickle Cell Disease,” on March 30, 2022, discussing a devastating inherited blood disorder that predominately affects people of African descent and other communities of color. The event featured a session by Ted W. Love, M.D., president and CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of innovative treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD).
“After years of limited progress in sickle cell disease, there have finally been advances over the past few years that can help people suffering from this terrible lifelong condition,” stated Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the NBCI. “We are honored to have Dr. Ted Love as our featured speaker at this historic event to help educate and drive awareness, and advocacy for sickle cell disease and particularly around the needs regarding access to care. We are extremely excited to discuss ways to provide the African American community the highest quality of care when it comes to sickle cell disease. Our goal is to ensure that patients with sickle cell are treated with respect and dignity when they access the healthcare system and get the quality care they need and deserve.”
For decades, sickle cell disease has been a stubborn and consistent health issue among African
Americans and other ethnic groups of Mediterranean ancestry. Until relatively recently, a lack of research and progress has existed in the treatment and care of sickle cell disease. In addition, there is a need to drive greater awareness and engagement, particularly in the African American and LatinX communities about this disease.
Dr. Love provided historical context around the disparities in care faced by the sickle cell community and discuss his perspectives on the policy needs at the state and federal levels and promising areas of clinical research in the management of SCD. The Black Church and its constituencies used the information to educate, protect, serve, and advocate for those congregants and constituencies who suffer from this disease.
The State of the State of Sickle Cell Disease event was convened with the support of the Sickle Cell Consortium, the Sickle Cell Foundation and GBT. Invited guests included Mayor Andre Dickens, members of the City Council, Georgia Congressional Caucus and Senator Raphael Warnock. The audience consisted of key stakeholders, sickle cell experts, research scientists, Sickle Cell Warriors, health care physicians, and others similarly situated.
In June 2014, Dr. Love joined GBT in June 2014 as president and chief executive officer, having acquired broad leadership and management experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. He holds a B.A. in molecular biology from Haverford College, an M.D. from Yale Medical School, and he completed his clinical training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital.