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Our Team

The Virginia Sickle Cell ECHO Clinical Team Leader is Wally R. Smith, MD, the Florence Neal Cooper Smith Professor of Sickle Cell Disease and Vice Chair for Research of the Division of General Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is active in the American Society of Hematology the Sickle Cell Adult Provider Network and numerous sickle cell causes. He has held over 50 research grants.

His NIH-funded Pain in Sickle Cell Epidemiology Study (PiSCES) redefined the clinical and research models of pain in sickle cell disease, and led to his international recognition as an expert in pain and pain management in sickle cell disease. He was a principal investigator in the Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease, the Multicenter Study of Hydroxyurea in Sickle Cell Disease, the Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Research Network, the Sickle Cell Disease Outcomes Research Network, the Health Resources and Services Administration Sickle Cell Treatment Demonstration Program, and the NIH Basic and Translational Research Program in sickle cell disease.

Dr. Smith has been associated with the development of two potential remittive agents for sickle cell disease at VCU, and has been a major contributor to several trials of SCD remittive agents either just approved or nearing FDA approval. His latest multicenter NIH-funded randomized controlled trial is SHIP HU, which assigns community health workers to patients to enhance their adherence to hydroxyurea.

Dr. India Sisler
Associate Professor
Medical Director, Hematology and Oncology

Dr. Lipato Thokozeni
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine

Shirley A Johnson, BS, LCSW
Practice Administrator
Research Project manager