Sickle Cell Center

sickle-cell research

Since 1989, the Meharry Sickle Cell Center has served as the Reference and Confirmatory Laboratory for the State of Tennessee Newborn Screening Program, accumulating valuable information regarding the incidence of sickle cell disease and other hemoglobinopathies in Tennessee. Over the past fifteen years, the Center has found that the incidence for sickle cell disease has not changed significantly. However, as the population of the state diversifies, so has the presence of the disease in Tennessee’s ethnic and minority groups.


Our Mission

The MSCC mission is to improve the quality of life and extend the years of life of individuals affected with hemoglobinopathies by providing early confirmatory testing, follow-up, treatment, education, and counseling to families affected with these disorders, and to promote community awareness of hemoglobinopathies by conducting community screenings and educational activities in the state of Tennessee.

Facts about the Meharry Sickle Cell Center

  • Meharry’s Sickle Cell Center is one of the oldest in the country, celebrating 45 years of service to the community in 2017. Although it was officially established in 1972, it had already been conducting blood screenings for at-risk populations since the late fifties, soon after the diagnostic techniques became available.
  • In 2014, the center celebrated its 25th anniversary as the Hemoglobinopathy Confirmatory and Reference Laboratory for the State of Tennessee Department of Health’s Newborn Screening Program.
  • The center is able to detect multiple hemoglobin abnormalities in the blood. Using isoelectric focusing electrophoresis; alkaline, acid, and neutral electrophoresis; high performance liquid chromatography; and DNA testing, the center can identify hundreds of different hemoglobinopathies, in addition to sickle cell and other blood disorders.
  • The Meharry Sickle Cell Center tests literally thousands of blood samples a year for abnormalities. Not only are newborn hemoglobinopathy tests confirmed for the state of Tennessee, but also for other states and some foreign countries upon request. Individuals of all ages may contact the center directly for this type of testing.

Adult Sickle Cell Clinic

Wednesdays from 1 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Meharry Sickle Cell Clinic
Metro General Hospital, 2nd Floor
1005 D. B. Todd Jr. Boulevard


Parking is free with a validated ticket from the garage on Albion Street, across from the Emergency Room entrance.

Administrative Offices

Meharry Sickle Cell Center
1005 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37208
615.327.6763 (office)
615.327.6008 (fax)


The Center’s administrative offices are on the second floor of the Old Hospital Building in suite C-222.

Contact Us

The Sickle Cell Center at Meharry offers blood testing, genetic counseling, and education about sickle cell and other blood disorders.

  • To make an appointment to see the newborn screening Follow-Up Nurse, please call 615.327.6763.
  • To make a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s appointment for an adult sickle cell patient, please call 615.341.4383.
  • To talk to someone about hosting an educational or screening event in your community, call 615.327.6763 or visit for instructions
  • If you are a health professional seeking instruction for CMEs, call 615.327.6763.


Improving Care for People with Sickle Cell Disease
YouTube video about Sickle Cell


Module 1: Sickle Cell and Me
This video discusses the basics of sickle disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. The video provides a general definition of sickle cell disease; a sickled red blood cell; who is affected by sickle cell disease; and common signs and symptoms of sickle cell disease.


Module 2: Healthy Living and Sickle Cell Disease
This video discusses healthy living and sickle cell disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. It reviews the importance of nutrition and exercise for a teen with sickle cell disease; the effects of alcohol and tobacco use in a person with sickle cell disease; and the changes that occur during puberty in teens with sickle cell disease.


Module 3: Pain, Infection and Sickle Cell Disease
This video discusses pain and infection in a teen with sickle cell disease with interactive pre and post quizzes. It reviews possible pain triggers, the importance of preventative pain measures, and treatment for mild or moderate pain episodes for a teen with sickle cell disease. Additionally, the video discusses signs and symptoms of infection in a person with sickle cell disease and the importance of knowing the proper response to signs of infection.


Module 4: Other Complications of Sickle Cell Disease (excluding Pain and Infection discussed in Module 3)
This video discusses some additional complications that may occur in a teen with sickle cell disease. Also, the video has pre and post quizzes to allow for use as a teaching tool. The video provides a preliminary discussion of the following complications and symptoms that may occur in a teen with sickle cell disease:  stroke, avascular necrosis, acute chest syndrome, retinopathy, priapism, osteomyelitis, leg ulcers, gallstones, and some renal complication. Additionally, the video discusses some common treatments for these complications.


Maria del Pilar Aguinaga, Ph.D., DLM (ASCP.)
Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Co-Director and Laboratory Director, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6593

Maria Besilda Rimando-Kelly NP-C
Nurse Practitioner, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6008

Robert Mushi, Ph.D.
Laboratory Supervisor, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6949

Celestine C. Mgbemere, M.S.P.H., M.T.
Laboratory Technologist II, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6949

Lisa A. Walker, BBA
Program Coordinator, Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Fax: 615.327.6008