NICHQ Webinar

Conversations to Improve Patient/Provider Relationships and Increase Appointment Attendance

June 29, 2021 from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM (EDT)

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) affects approximately 100,000 Americans, predominantly those of African descent. This inherited blood disorder may cause acute pain episodes, infection, and other serious health problems that can damage every organ in the body.

Too often, people living with SCD and their families and caregivers miss critical healthcare appointments for a variety of reasons. According to a 2019 national study, a majority of patients reported missing a clinic appointment in the previous 12 months. In disseminating the study results, NICHQ interviewed patients, caregivers, and providers – and found that systemic and individual bias and racism contributed to poor patient/provider relationships, which in turn undermined solutions to appointment attendance problems. 

While the relationship between patients or caregivers and their providers is not the main problem, improving that partnership is a big part of the solution. In this interactive session, our panelists will model conversations among providers, families, and advocates about reasons for and solutions to missed SCD healthcare appointments. Using webinar interaction tools and polls, webinar participants will examine, dissect, and discuss what works and what doesn’t in these conversations.

Webinar Objectives:

  • Identify three of the common reasons for missed appointments for people living with SCD and their families
  • Learn three conversation strategies to improve appointment attendance
  • Identify one immediate and one longer-term action to improve healthcare relationships


  • SCD stakeholders: advocates and community-based organizations, health professionals, and service providers, people living with SCD and their families
  • Any caregiver, provider, or advocate in children’s healthcare who experiences frustration with missed appointments
  • Others who want to improve their conversations, their patient/provider relationships, and their appointment attendance

Panelists include:

  • Suzette Oyeku, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • TaLana Hughes, MPH, Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois
  • Carolyn Rowley, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutritionist, Executive Director at Cayenne Wellness Center | Sickle Cell Education, Support, and Advocacy
  • James McElligott, M.D., MSCR, Executive Medical Director for Telehealth at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Associate Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics at MUSC Children’s Hospital

  • Moderator: Judith Gooding, NICHQ Senior Advisor and Project Director for Disseminating Results: Missed Sickle Cell Disease Clinic Appointments and the Health Belief Model