The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) – Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) U54 Partnership’s Research Education Core (REC) will host the 11th annual Education Day on July 29, 2021. This year’s theme will be "building awareness, sickle cell disease."
Dr. Tolu is a current resident in Pediatrics at the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. Her keen interest in sickle cell disease is greatly owed to having siblings and many loved ones living with SCD. Dr. Tolu completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago where she wrote an honors thesis under the mentorship of John Cunningham, entitled The Role of Krüpple-Like Factor 1 in Erythroid Differentiation. She attended Case Western Reserve University for medical school, and there solidified her interest in pediatrics, creating the “Sickle Cell Buddy Program,” a connecting point for chronically transfused children/teens with SCD and medical student volunteers. Additionally, she received the American Society of Hematology Minority Medical Student Award in 2015 and Minority Resident Hematology Award in 2021. She interrupted her medical education to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Fellows Program for two years at Harvard Medical School with George Q. Daley as her mentor.
Her work modeling sickle cell anemia with induced pluripotent stem cells received multiple awards including the ASH HONORS Award and Abstract Achievement Awards. She has presented this work at the American Society of Hematology annual meetings, International Society for Stem Cell Research, the New York Academy of Sciences, the University of Oxford and more. She has also written a textbook chapter on the critical care of sickle cell patients and currently serves on the Advisory Panel of the Sickle Cell Transplant Advocacy & Research Alliance. Dr. Tolu hopes for a world where every child and adult can be safely cured of SCD with safe, effective and accessible intervention and plans to complete a hematology/oncology fellowship post-residency.
Mr. Neil Gilbert Executive board member of the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Association Inc. in Boston. Neil Gilbert was born on St. Croix, in the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. For the past years Neil has unselfishly give his time and energy towards making the quality of life better for all sickle cell patients in our region. In addition to his volunteer work with the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Association Inc. He volunteers for Rosie’s Place, the Big Brother, and Make A Wish Foundations. Neil is also a Senior Administrative Support Specialist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Dana Farber Cancer Institute Radiation Oncology Department.
If you should ask Neil what is the wind beneath his wings, he will quickly tell you that it is his faith in God, and the special love that he has for his daughters, one of his daughter who is also a sickle cell patient. Despite his busy schedule as a father, executive board member of the organization who plays a major part with lobbying a sickle cell disease bill at the Nation Capital Washington DC with lawyers & legislators, he also assist spear heading sickle cell disease walk a thons, holiday parties, community awareness seminars, advocacy programs, & collaborating with a few colleges & universities in Boston to create forum where sickle cell patients lead the lectures, notifying college students in the residency programs of the challenges, bed side manner they encounter being a sickle cell patient at emergency rooms and many hospitals. Neil can be found at the bed side of his daughter and other sickle cell patients who are acutely ill, whenever there are admitted at many of our neighboring hospitals for a sickle cell crisis.
He is also always available to accompany sickle patients to Boston Celtics & Red Sox games on behalf of our support group. At his fulltime job at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Dana Farber Cancer Institute Neil was 2017 Jimmy Fund Unsung Hero, & honored as the Rowlee Award winner. The Rowlee Award is given annually to employees who lead by practicing outstanding work habits, giving their best each day, and contributing to and sharing responsibility for establishing and maintaining Dana-Farber Cancer Institute high standards. Neil, for dedication to the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Disease Association Inc organization and love and compassion to sickle cell patients we say, “Thank you for all the you do and for helping to ease the pain of so many who need your contagious smile and the gentle hand that you are always ready to extend.”
Originally from Haiti, Marvendy immigrated to the United State in 2013 with his mother and younger brother. He graduated from the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Marvendy currently attends Southern New Hampshire University as a rising sophomore and is pursuing a degree in General Business. Since 2018, he has been interning at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Office of Workforce Development Student Training Program. He has successfully completed 3 summers and 3 academic-years, interning in the Cell Manipulation Core Facility, Office of General Counsel, Breast Oncology, and his current department Cancer Immunology and Virology. Marvendy’s experience has him focused on the business side of healthcare. He hopes to find a career in business where he can become financially established. In his free time, Marvendy enjoys spending time with family and watching anime with his brother.
Mandell has been a nurse practitioner and Nurse Director in Hematology for 26 years. During this time, her main focus has been caring for people with sickle cell disease.
Ms. Rodriguez-Louis is a public health practitioner involved in the design and implementation of innovative health programs and clinical research initiatives in the field of asthma. She has three decades of front-line experience addressing the health needs of underserved communities, experience of how social factors impact health, and a hard-won understanding of how to effect meaningful change at the community level.
In her 30-yr career working with world-renowned Pulmonologist, Christopher Fanta, M.D., Director, Partners Asthma Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, she has been responsible for developing culturally competent, low literacy health education curricula and educational materials, coordinating live and distance learning continuing education programs for nurses, emergency rooms physicians, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists, outreach workers, childcare educators, and other allied health professionals, administering a Smoking Cessation program for interested parties, and establishing asthma clinics in two Neighborhood Health Centers providing specialized asthma care.
Ms. Rodriguez-Louis is also a long-time volunteer and past Executive Director of the Greater Boston Sickle Cell Disease Association, Inc. (GBSCDA). The organization, the Boston Chapter of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America since 2004 is at the forefront of Sickle Cell Disease awareness, advocacy, and social support for persons living with Sickle Cell Disease in the Greater Boston Region and beyond.
In her personal life, Ms. Rodriguez-Louis and her husband, Hobson, a Pastor and Clinical Chaplain, have been married for over 30 years and have two amazing sons, Pierce and Tyrese— the absolute loves of her life! Socially she is active in her church, GBSCDA, and Chelsea community where she enjoys outreach, volunteering, health education program development, events planning, and simply helping others.
When her work career is over, she is looking forward to her second love, creating social programs and activities for elders!
Anthia Toure is a 2019 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a bachelors in Biochemistry. During her time at UMass Boston, she participated in the U54 program under Dr. Chengmeng Cai doing research on Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer. Anthia is currently working as a research technician in a medical oncology lab at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Her lab is interested in finding novel therapeutics for patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, cooking, and teaching science to Kindergarteners.
- Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center – Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities
- Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and University of Massachusetts Boston U54 Partnership Research Education Core
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Office of Workforce Development