Three Delaware State University students are using the power of technology — including social media and app development — to raise awareness of sickle cell disease.
It’s part of the national Hope for Sickle Cell Disease Challenge, a competition conducted by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Two graduate students, Lindsey Hyppolite and Joshua Patterson, and an undergraduate freshman, Nia Allen, comprise the team that launched SCD REDefined. The project shines a light on sickle cell issues, including access to medical treatment, genotype education and social stigma, through social media interaction on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
According to Hyppolite, a chemistry Ph.D. candidate, the team has also created a mobile app that focuses on the disease.
“Our goal is to raise the awareness, erase the stigma, teach others how to know their status so that they can have effective family planning,” Hyppolite said in a Del State news release. “We are doing a community outreach, in which we talk about symptoms of the disease, share information about community support groups, and also share, testimonials from other with the disease.”
One of the issues SCD REDefined tackles is romantic relationships and how the carrier trait is passed to children. This Tuesday evening, a Zoom event titled “Love REDefined” to be hosted by MC Blake the Brain will use matchmaking and “Newlyweds”-style games to help normalize sharing one’s status with a potential partner. SCD status can be determined from a blood test.
“Erasing the stigma means to educate the community and get them to learn if they carry the trait,” Hyppolite said. “Some people carry the trait and they don’t know it.”
For more information on the competitions and the March 16 Zoom event, taking place from 5 to 7 p.m., go here or follow SCD REDefined on social media.