FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            Connecticut Department of Public Health

January 15, 2008                                      Contact:  William Gerrish

                                                                 (860) 509-7270




Hartford - The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Consortium will introduce the state’s sickle cell plan, Designing a Comprehensive System Across the Lifespan: Connecticut’s State Plan to Address Sickle Cell Disease and Trait, and related public and media awareness campaign.  The rollout will occur on Thursday, January 17, 2008 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 100 Berlin Road, Cromwell.


Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) often disrupts daily living with illness, pain, trips to emergency departments, stigma and a compromised quality of life,” said Governor M. Jodi Rell.  “It can lead to a number of medical complications including stroke, acute chest syndrome and organ damage.  In the United States, SCD is most prevalent in African-Americans, occurring in about 1 in every 500 African-American children.”


SCD is a group of inherited red blood cell disorders.  Sickle red blood cells become hard, sticky and shaped like sickles used to cut wheat.  When these hard and pointed red cells go through the small blood vessels, they stick together, clogging the flow of blood.  This can cause pain, a low red blood cell count (anemia), or tissue death.


“Children with Sickle Cell Disease will need special medication and related medical care throughout their lives,” said DPH Commissioner J. Robert Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.  “To date, our Newborn Screening Program has identified over 374 babies with SCD and 11,930 with the trait since testing began in 1990.  It is very important that people with Sickle Cell Disease receive regular treatment.”


The consortium, which includes Hospital for Special Care as the lead agency, Department of Public Health, University of Connecticut Health Center, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Yale New Haven Hospital, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America - Southern Connecticut Chapter, and Citizens for Quality Sickle Cell Care Programs, has been established to provide services and partnerships to implement SCD prevention initiatives and interventions for Connecticut children and adults with SCD or trait.  The plan serves as a blueprint for continuing to establish and maintain a comprehensive delivery system across the lifespan for the treatment and care of those with SCD and trait. 


The event is free of charge and open to the public, especially to those with SCD and their families, but all participants must pre-register.  To register, call the DPH Family Health Section at (860) 509-8074 or e-mail 



The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state.  To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.