Sickle Cell Disease Care Team

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, we surround you with experts who focus on sickle cell disease and other blood disorders. A handful of people make up the core of your care team. You will have a hematologist and a registered nurse who specialize in sickle cell disease. At some visits, you might see an advanced practice provider. Some patients get part of their treatment from infusion nurses. A patient care coordinator will schedule your visits. 

Others join your team based on your personal needs. If you need a blood or marrow transplant, we have experts in this form of treatment. If you get a new health issue that might affect your sickle cell disease treatment, we call in the right experts. We have specialists based at Fred Hutch who know how to prevent or handle the issues that can affect people with sickle cell disease. 

Supportive care providers are also here to help. You may see Fred Hutch registered dietitians, physical therapists, pain medicine specialists, psychologists, social workers and others. All of us specialize in caring for people with complex health care needs.

For patients who do not live nearby, we are happy to work closely with your local care providers to check your health, review and adjust your treatment and watch for complications.

Hear from Kleber Yotsumoto Fertrin, MD, PhD, the director of the Fred Hutch Sickle Cell Disease and Iron Overload Program, as he shares how the Sickle Cell Disease Program partners with local providers.

What Each Team Member Does

Advanced Practice Provider (APP)

Advanced practice providers have training that is similar to physicians and can see you without your physician. At Fred Hutch, these health care professionals work closely with your hematologist in the clinic. There are two types: physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs). They help provide and plan your treatment and also help manage the effects of your disease and treatment.

PAs and ARNPs will: 

  • See you on a regular schedule.
  • Give you exams to check how your disease responds to treatment and how you are overall. 
  • Offer you ways to prevent, relieve and cope with symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment.


This physician manages your medicine-based treatments. 

Your hematologist will:

  • See you during your first visit to the clinic. They will give you an exam and order any tests you need to understand how your disease is affecting your body.
  • Explain what your test results mean and answer your questions.
  • Recommend medicines, doses, schedule and sequence to match your exact needs. They will also talk with you about the benefits and risks.
  • See you on a regular schedule to check how your disease responds to treatment and how you are overall.
  • Offer you ways to prevent, relieve and deal with symptoms of the disease and side effects of treatment, like medicine to help with pain.
  • Work with the rest of your care team if you need other types of treatment.

Infusion Nurse

If you are getting any therapies by infusion, these treatments happen in a special area of the clinic. Nurses who are experts in infusions give these treatments. They will also watch over you during each infusion. They respond to any medical issues that come up and help keep you comfortable.

Patient Care Coordinator

Your patient care coordinator works closely with you and your physician. They schedule your appointments.


Fred Hutch pharmacists fill the medications prescribed by your physician. They will teach you the right way to take your medicines. They can also tell you what side effects may happen and what to do if you have side effects.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Your nurse manages your care with your physician. They also help with procedures and treatments. Nurses are resources for you and your caregiver. They can answer questions on a wide range of topics, like how to cope with side effects or get other services you need at Fred Hutch.

Supportive Care Services

Many types of supportive care team members are here to help you and your family. They include registered dietitians, physical therapists, pain medicine specialists, psychologists, social workers, spiritual health staff, palliative care specialists, naturopaths and acupuncturists.

Learn more about Supportive Care Services


Transplant Team

If you need a blood or marrow transplant, you will have a specialized team from the Fred Hutch Blood and Marrow Transplant Program. Your team includes a transplant oncologist, advanced practice provider, transplant nurse, pharmacist, registered dietitian, team coordinator and social worker. 

This team will:

  • Give you an exam (and your donor, if you need one).
  • Decide on a transplant approach to match your case. 
  • Prepare you and your caregiver.
  • Do your transplant.
  • Provide care as you recover.

Learn more about your Blood and Marrow Transplant Team