Innovation Centers / Sickle Cell Center

Sickle Cell Center

The Meharry Sickle Cell Center (MSCC) is the gateway to health for newborns identified with sickle cell disease, thalassemias or other hemoglobin disorders in our state. The State of Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) Public Health Laboratories under their Newborn Screening Program test all newborns in our state for sickle cell disease among several other genetic disorders. If the screen is positive, arrangements are made for a blood sample to be sent to the MSCC for final confirmation and diagnosis of the hemoglobin disorder. Therefore, the MSCC plays a key role in confirming blood disease in affected babies so that they can be placed promptly under proper health care management.

MSCC services include hemoglobinopathy testing, genetic counseling, and education about sickle cell and other blood disorders to the community and health care providers. The Adult Sickle Cell Clinic housed at Nashville General Hospital provides specialty care to adults with sickle cell or other hemoglobin disorders.

Babies with sickle cell or other hemoglobin disorders who are born in the Middle Tennessee region are followed-up by the MSCC. The baby’s first doctor’s visit is at Meharry Pediatrics. At this visit, the baby is checked, placed on needed medication and the family is counseled and educated on the hemoglobin disorder their newborn baby has. Also, free hemoglobinopathy testing is offered to all family members. Thereafter, the MSCC refers the baby to a pediatric hematologist for specialty care at a large tertiary health care center. Affected babies confirmed by the MSCC and who were born in other regions of our state are followed-up at their respective Regional Genetic Centers designated by TDOH

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve the quality and years of life of individuals affected with hemoglobinopathies by providing early confirmatory testing, follow-up, treatment, education, and counseling to families affected with these disorders, and to promote community awareness of hemoglobinopathies by conducting community screenings and educational activities in the state of Tennessee.


  • To make an appointment to see the newborn screening Follow-Up Nurse, please call 615.327.6763.
  • To make a physician’s or nurse practitioner’s appointment for an adult sickle cell patient, please call 615.341.4383.
  • To talk to someone about hosting an educational or screening event in your community, call 615.327.6763.
  • If you are a health professional seeking instruction for CMEs, call 615.327.6763.
  • To request online screening or education services at your event, email the agency request form to sickle_cell@mmc.edu.

Sickle Cell Center Administration Team

Maria del Pilar Aguinaga, PhD, DLM (ASCP)

Director, Meharry Sickle Cell Center & Professor
School of Medicine
Sickle Cell Center

(615) 327-6591
maguinaga@mmc.edu

Richard L. Martin, III, MD, MPH

Co-Director/Medical Director, Sickle Cell Center & Assistant Professor
School of Medicine
Sickle Cell Center

(615) 327-5894
rlmartin@mmc.edu

Robert S. Mushi, PhD, MT(ASCP)

Laboratory Supervisor
Meharry Sickle Cell Center
Sickle Cell Center

(615) 327-6853
rmushi@mmc.edu

Sickle Cell Center Research Team