The US Assistant Secretary for Health provides a top-down, government-level perspective on how sickle cell care has advanced in recent years.
Along with ensuring advances in sickle cell therapy, community and government officials are committed to issues related to healthcare access as top priorities.
In an exclusive interview with HCPLive®, the United States Secretary for Health ADM Brett Giroir, MD, spoke about his personal experiences dealing with sickle cell children as well as top-down efforts to address healthcare disparities in affected communities.
“I wanted to be in a position to support children’s needs in general and people who suffer health disparities,” he said. “Those with sickle cell have always been at the end of the line. They don’t get noticed, they don’t get funded, they have not benefitted from great science like so many other diseases have.”
Furthermore, Giroir acknowledged that even “great science” is only the half the story for addressing healthcare inequality.
“All the science in the world is not going to help if you don’t have a care-delivery system that can meet the needs of patients,” he noted.
He went on to explain the steps the US government and health agencies have taken to ensure a unified, effective approach to sickle cell care.
All major challenges—such as lack of homogeneity in providing standard of care, FDA regulation of new therapies, and financial barriers, to name a few—must be faced and overcome through collaboration between these agencies and the communities that are directly impacted.
“You can’t do this in a siloed fashion,” stressed Giroir.