Making A Difference in the Lives of Patients #30forSickleCell

Brazilian doctor Jane Hankins from @StJude discusses sickle cell disease #30forSickleCell #sicklecell

Did you know that there is a large population of Brazilians who are living with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD)? It is estimated that about 45,000 people in Brazil have SCD. Today’s interview is with Dr. Jane Hankins who is from Brazil.  Thank you Dr. Hankins for your work with sickle cell disease at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Brazilian doctor Jane Hankins from @StJude discusses sickle cell disease #30forSickleCell #sicklecellWhen did you first hear about sickle cell disease?

When I was in medical school, in Brazil. Sickle cell disease is also very common in Brazil, where I am from.

How did you decide to help patients living with blood disorders including sickle cell disease?

I have always found that there was very little attention being given to this population, and one that could be tremendously impacted by simple measures, like education, prophylaxis with antibiotics and immunizations. It is truly a calling for me.

Why is sickle cell awareness important?

Because people still do not know this is a genetic disease, and one of the most common ones in the world. It is very important that people living with sickle cell disease receive specialized care at sickle cell centers, otherwise, they will not be profiting from the best opportunities of treatment and research.

Brazilian doctor Jane Hankins from @StJude discusses sickle cell disease #30forSickleCell #sicklecellWhat’s one thing you wished patients knew that could them better manage their sickle cell disorder?

Learn to be a partner with your treating health care professionals. Develop mutual trust. This will facilitate understanding and pursuit of common goals. The diseases that have demonstrated the most progress in recent years were those in which patients and providers were working in partnership to find cures and better treatments (e.g., breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, etc.).

Are there any myths that you would like to dispel about people living with sickle cell disease?

Addiction to opioids is actually very rare (less than 5%), so for most patients, the use of opioids is very much legitimate.

Are there publications/resources you would recommend to people read who want to learn more about the latest healthcare advances regarding sickle cell disease?

They can search the St. Jude website,, or the new NHLBI guidelines (recently released).

How are you raising awareness about sickle cell disease and how can others help support this cause?

By developing better relationships with other providers of sickle cell disease in my city and state. Together (patients with patients, providers with providers, patients with providers) and can be a true force to accelerate change.

Recent St. Jude Sickle Cell Disease News


Dr. Jane Hankins Bio

Dr. Jane Hankins trained in general pediatrics at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center and following her pediatrics training, began her fellowship at St. Jude in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology in 2001, and a second fellowship in Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease in 2004.  She joined the faculty in 2005.  Additionally, she holds appointments at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, University of Tennessee, Memphis, and the Regional Medical Center (The Med), and an adjunct professor appointment at the University of Memphis. Dr. Hankins earned her medical degree in her native Brazil from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.  Her research interests include the study of hydroxyurea and iron loading and unloading in the body. Dr. Hankins is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. In her spare time, Dr. Hankins enjoys time with her husband and son. In addition, she enjoys reading books, practicing yoga, and watching soccer games.

Support the St. Jude Sickle Cell Disease program

Donate to St. Jude online: Ways to Help

Donate to St. Jude phone: 800-805-5856

Donate to St. Jude by mail: Printable forms

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