Sickle Cell Disease Association Presents Awards at National Convention


Sickle Cell Disease Association of America presented three awards at its 48th annual national convention held virtually last week.

  • Cassandra Trimnell received the 2020 Champion Award. Trimnell is the founder and executive director of Sickle Cell 101, a San Francisco Bay Area-based nonprofit organization that specializes in sickle cell education for community stakeholders including patients and health care providers. Trimnell is a board member for the Global Alliance of Sickle Cell Disease Organizations and sits on committees within the National Institutes of Health, Health and Human Services and other entities. She received a bachelor’s degree in global studies from Sonoma State University and a sickle cell educator certificate issued by the Department of Public Health. Her work stems directly from her living with sickle cell disease.
  • Dr. Biree Andemariam received the 2020 Chairman’s Award. Andemariam is past chief medical officer and board vice chair of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, a board-certified hematologist and founding director of the New England Sickle Cell Institute (NESCI) at UCONN Health. NESCI serves over 300 adults with sickle cell disease in a dedicated facility where patients have access to comprehensive care as well as clinical research trials. Andemariam’s primary research focuses on novel therapies and new pathways of care. She holds an undergraduate degree in molecular biology with a certificate of proficiency in African studies from Princeton University and a medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine where she graduated with research honors.
  • Andre Marcel Harris received the 2020 Community Health Worker Award. Harris graduated from Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor of Social Work. He served as a member of the National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Black Social Work, North American Association of Christians in Social Work, Council of Social Work Education, American Public Health Association, Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society and Wellness Ambassadors. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Harris served in the Youth Health Equity Model of Practice Health Equity Fellow program and was placed at the Foundation of Sickle Cell Disease Research in Florida.

The Sickle Cell Disease Association’s four-day multidisciplinary national convention addressing sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait brought together hundreds of health care professionals, patients, families, community-based organizations, leaders and advocates from around the world.

The convention included keynote and honor lectures, business and grant meetings, exhibit hall presentations, advocacy lectures, clinical trial updates, educational workshops, medical reports, panel discussions, award presentations and social events. Participants connected and interacted virtually with health care leaders and professionals in the sickle cell community.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disease causing red blood cells to take a sickle shape, which leads to blockages that prevent blood from reaching parts of the body. As a result, people with sickle cell complications can experience anemia, jaundice, gallstones, stroke, chronic pain, organ damage and premature death. No universal cure exists. (

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America advocates for people affected by sickle cell conditions and empowers community-based organizations to maximize quality of life and raise public consciousness while advancing the search for a universal cure. The association and more than 50 member organizations support sickle cell research, public and professional health education and patient and community services. (

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