Segregated Treatment and Research

 March of Dimes sickle cell screening program at Julia Richman High School in New York City, 1972

March of Dimes sickle cell screening program at Julia Richman High School in New York City, 1972
Courtesy of March of Dimes

 

 

Until a 1970 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) brought attention to the disease, sickle cell anemia—a serious hereditary blood disorder affecting an estimated 90,000–100,000 Americans, primarily African Americans--was largely invisible to the medical establishment. As early as 1969, social justice activists, including the Black Panthers, began drawing attention to this “black disease” through national health awareness campaigns and screening programs. In 1972, Congress passed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Act to establish a national program for genetic counseling, diagnosis and treatment, and research.  Organizations such as March of Dimes also began screening programs.