Innovation in the community

Published on June 28th, 2012 by Diana Duren.

When Michael DeBaun, M.D., MPH, shared his vision of bringing much-needed care out into the community for patients with sickle cell disease and asthma, the Junior League of Nashville responded in a big way.

The organization committed $1.5 million in April to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to help establish the Junior League Sickle Cell Disease and Asthma Program, a medical home model treatment facility to be housed at the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center in Nashville.

The Junior League’s gift is yet another chapter in the organization’s storied history of support for children in the Nashville community.

“We feel the Sickle Cell Disease and Asthma Program continues the Junior League’s roots for supporting compassionate, home-based care,” said Michele Toungette, president of the Junior League of Nashville. “We look forward to supporting the program with our volunteers as well, helping provide education and support services for women and children in a myriad of capacities.”

The innovative medical home model brings together physicians, nurse practitioners and nurse case managers from Children’s Hospital and Meharry Medical College under one roof. The program will help reduce health care costs and improve access for families by offering support services, educational resources and personalized care to patients—many of whom require long-term treatment.

“The Junior League has an outstanding track record of caring for children, both in the Nashville community and here at Children’s Hospital,” said Luke Gregory, chief executive officer for Children’s Hospital. “By allowing us to provide unique specialty care in a community setting, the Junior League is truly helping transform the care of sickle cell disease and asthma in our area.”

DeBaun, J.C. Peterson, M.D., Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology, professor of Pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry-Matthew Walker Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, said many children with sickle cell disease struggle with asthma, and this community-based program will create one standard of care for children battling these chronic illnesses.

“We are extremely grateful for the unwavering support of the Junior League of Nashville,” said DeBaun. “The funds will help provide a new paradigm of family-centered care for an underserved and deserving population of children.”

The Junior League Sickle Cell Disease and Asthma Program at Children’s Hospital will augment the mission of the Vanderbilt-Meharry-Matthew Walker Center of Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease

– Jeremy Rush

For more information, visit or call (615) 936-1762.