Tulane Doctors ~ Sickle Cell Center of Louisiana

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The Sickle Cell Center of Louisiana

The Sickle Cell Center of Southern Louisiana (SCCSL) grew out of a sickle cell clinic initiated by Gerald Williams and Maeola Jones in 1979. Mr. Williams was the Director of the New Orleans Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation at the time and Ms. Maeola Jones the pediatric nurse for sickle cell. Patients were initially seen at the routine weekly pediatric and adult hematology clinics at Charity Hospital where Ms. Jones provided particular attention to sickle cell issues. In 1984 the adult and pediatric clinics were combined and the Sickle Cell Center of Southern Louisiana was established, which has been providing comprehensive care for patients with sickle cell disease from birth into adulthood since. The impact of comprehensive sickle cell care is reflected by a significantly improved life expectancy. While the life expectancy of someone with sickle cell disease was estimated to be in their 20’s in the 1970’s, we now take care of individuals well into their 60’s and beyond. We continue to be aware and committed to advance the care of our patients. The results of their efforts are reflected in observing the increase in average lifespan for people with sickle cell disease, which was only 14 years until 1973. Currently, life expectancy for these patients can reach 50 years and over. However there is a need for a more research and work to ensure that these patients live normal productive life.

The goal of the SCCSL is to improve the care and quality of life of patients with sickle cell disease. Within the center, we have physicians, nurses, social workers, researchers, and administrators dedicated to helping people with sickle cell disease of all ages. We offer comprehensive medical care including individualized pain programs, education, exchange transfusion therapy, hydroxyurea therapy, bone marrow transplant and psychosocial support.

Services & Treatments

The main center’s responsibility is to provide care for patients in the southern half of the state, from Lake Charles to New Orleans. Primarily, the patient population comes from the Greater New Orleans Area. The center offers 24 hour phone consults for physicians throughout Louisiana. The center stays abreast of the latest treatments and research in sickle cell disease, often participating in national studies and is able to provide the most scientifically advanced treatments for sickle cell patients.

Our Team

Cindy Leissinger, MD - Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics & Pathology
Amina Rafique, MD - Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Melody S. Benton, MS, CCRP - Administrative Director, Clinical Research Operations
Ernest DeJean, MSW - Program Manager
Justin Farge, MD - Assistant Professor
Karen Odoms-Johnson, RN - Nurse Specialist
Amy Kinzie, APRN, CNP - Instructor of Clinical Medicine
Anna Jones - Administrative Secretary

For Appointments: 504-988-6253

Children's Hospital New Orleans
200 Henry Clay Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118