RARE Daily

GBT Grant Program to Support to the Sickle Cell Disease Community

March 2, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

Global Blood Therapeutics said it is accepting proposals for the third annual Access to Excellent Care for Sickle Cell Patients (ACCEL) grant program, which provides funding to accelerate the development of sustainable access-to-care programs for people living with sickle cell disease.

This year, the program is doubling the total funding and number of grantees by awarding 10 grants worth up to $50,000 each. GBT will accept proposals from community-based organizations and institutions with programs designed to make it easier for patients to get care and ensure that providers deliver the highest quality care possible.

Sickle Cell disease (SCD) is an inherited blood disease that affects millions around the world, with more than 300,000 born with the condition annually. It disproportionately affects those of African descent, and sub-Saharan Africa bears roughly 80 percent of the disease burden. It also is common among people with ancestry from South America, Central America, and India, as well as several Mediterranean countries, such as Italy and Turkey.

SCD affects the structure and function of hemoglobin, reduces the ability of red blood cells to transport oxygen efficiently and, early on, progresses to a chronic vascular disease. The disease can lead to acute episodes of pain known as sickle cell pain crises, or vaso-occlusive crises, as well as life-threatening complications. The resulting, frequent hospitalizations associated with sickle cell disease combined with an overall lack of specialized care places a significant burden on patients and their families, healthcare systems, and the overall economy.

“GBT is driven by our mission to transform the lives of people living with sickle cell disease, and we recognize, now more than ever, that means increasing our support of the sickle cell community,” said Jung Choi, chief business and strategy officer, and head of patient advocacy and government affairs at GBT. “That is why, this year, we are doubling our efforts to fund novel programs that address the inequities people with sickle cell disease face gaining access to high-quality, continuous healthcare, as well as meeting the unique needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In previous years, the ACCEL program has selected and funded up to $250,000 to five U.S. community-based organizations and institutions serving patients with SCD and their families. With the doubling of funds for 2021, this year’s priority areas for grant proposals have expanded to include initiatives that address racial equity and COVID-19 vaccine awareness amongst the SCD community. Other priority areas include educational initiatives focused on patient empowerment, shared decision-making and enabling navigation of the healthcare system; improving transition from pediatric to adult care; community outreach models using health workers to directly facilitate access to care; and innovative training programs and outreach models.

GBT is accepting proposals for the ACCEL program through Friday, April 23, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. A panel of GBT management and external stakeholders with expertise in the issues affecting people with SCD will review proposal submissions. The panel will select grant recipients based on the proposal’s goals and objectives, potential impact and overall strength of the work plan, timeline, evaluation plan and organizational capabilities. More information about the ACCEL program and how to submit a proposal can be found here.

Photo: Jung Choi, chief business and strategy officer

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