Integrative Global Health Research on Sickle Cell Disease (2014-2015)

This project team took part in research that formed the initial phase of a long-term endeavor to 1) understand the separate and joint contributions of biological and nonbiological factors to phenotypic variability in sickle cell disease (SCD) over the life-course; and 2) improve outcomes for people worldwide with sickle cell disease. The team comprised faculty and students from the US (Duke), Jamaica, Cameroon and South Africa who focused on specific related tasks pertinent to their areas of expertise and interest, simultaneously integrating their parts into the whole.

Team members utilized existing clinical, social, environmental, genetic and phenotypic data from a sampling frame of approximately 1,036 children and 1,480 adults with homozygous SCD (HbSS) in the four countries. They reconciled patient datasets from the study sites, characterized relevant contextual dimensions of the four countries and conducted a proof-of-concept study to evaluate and refine the preliminary conceptual framework. Outputs included 1) a new holistic model and new set of criteria to assess the role of the possible multifactorial sources of SCD heterogeneity; 2) hypotheses, preliminary data and manuscripts for future externally funded grants; and 3) recommendations for attending to challenges and areas of need in relation to integrative global health research and clinical practice in SCD.


August 2014 – July 2015 

Team Outcomes

Paula Tanabe, Understanding the Intersection of Stigma and Self-Management in Sickle Cell Disease ($88,568 grant awarded from the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Nursing Research, 2017)

This Team in the News

Madelaine Katz: My Bass Connections Pathway

The Chronicity of Compassion

Distinctive Global Health Grads (Madelaine Katz)

Not only will I be able to apply my knowledge of sickle cell to future projects, I will be able to apply this model and approach of understanding health outcomes on a structural and intrapersonal level to future work and projects. This is the truly invaluable component of the program for me. Being a part of this Bass Connections team has solidified my goals to pursue a career in global health, and to focus on collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches to health. —Madelaine Katz

Team Leaders

  • Michael Babyak, School of Medicine-Psychiatry: Behavioral Medicine
  • Charmaine Royal, Arts & Sciences-African and African American Studies
  • Nirmish Shah, School of Medicine-Medicine: Hematology
  • Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Paula Tanabe, School of Nursing

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Renita Daniels, Program II (AB)
  • Kathia Desronvil
  • Madelaine Katz, Cultural Anthropology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Bianca Martin, Psychology (AB)
  • Maurice Samake
  • Angelita Thompson, Psychology (AB)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Monika Asnani, University of the West Indies - Sickle Cell Unit
  • Ambroise Wonkam, University of Cape Town - Division of Human Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences