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Health  2024 

Promoting Sickle Cell Trait Awareness and Education: A Typology of Interventions in the United States to Inform Ongoing Efforts to Patients and Providers

DOI: 10.4236/health.2024.164022, PP. 280-308

Keywords: Sickle Cell Trait Awareness, Sickle Cell Trait Messaging, Sickle Cell Trait Intervention, Typology, Scoping Review

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Research Background: Sickle cell trait has no treatment or cure and predominantly affects people who are Black, but can affect anyone of any race or ethnicity. While commonly incorrectly considered benign by providers and the public, people with a sickle cell trait experience life-threatening outcomes that are exacerbated by extreme conditions. There is a severe lack of awareness and understanding of sickle cell trait and the associated health complications among sickle cell trait carriers and healthcare providers. Purpose/Aim: Interventions that aim to improve awareness of sickle cell trait differ in approaches and are not well documented in the literature. This typology aims to highlight current efforts to inform targeted interventions that raise awareness through consistent messaging, educate people and providers on sickle cell trait and the related health complications, and support the design and implementation of comprehensive sickle cell trait awareness initiatives. Methods: We conducted a scoping review of United States-based sickle cell trait interventions and performed a content analysis to identify the categories and characteristics of these efforts. We then organized the results into a typology according to established protocols. Results: Among 164 interventions, twenty-five (15%) met the typology inclusion criteria described above and were grouped into categories: Seven of twenty-five interventions were Educational Interventions (28%), three of twenty-five interventions (12%) were Combined Screening and Educational-Based Interventions, eight of twenty-five interventions (32%) were Policy and Guideline-Based Intervention, and six of twenty-five interventions (24%) were Sickle Cell Trait Organization-Led Interventions. Conclusions: There is a lack of consistency in messaging across interventions whether delivered by credible healthcare institutions or national organizations, which can result in lack of education and awareness and confusion around sickle cell trait. Categorizing interventions through a typology allows clarity and informs consistency in messaging, which should be at the forefront of future sickle cell trait efforts.


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