LETTER FROM THE PROJECT DIRECTOR
Founded in Glendale, CA in 2000, Cayenne Wellness Center and Children’s Foundation (CWC), a 501(c)3 organization, was first established with the broad vision of general public health and wellness. Over the span of 20 years, our outreach and partnerships with community-based organizations, government agencies, hospitals, and medical centers extend across California, with community networks in Nevada, Oregon, and over the USA. We now address the urgent meet the needs of adults with sickle cell disease (SCD), the SCD community of caregivers, healthcare providers, and social support organizations. Led by Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Carolyn Rowley, an adult with SCD, CWC’s mission is to increase the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with SCD in California by ensuring expert, unbiased, accessible, and comprehensive care. This mission is part of a broader vision of (1) a medical system that effectively addresses the unique needs of individuals with SCD, and (2) empowered patients equipped to advocate for themselves.
Sickle cell disease affects approximately 100,000 Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans across the US. CWC serves the entire state of California where over 7,000 people have SCD; CWC is based in Southern California where more than 50% of those living with SCD in California reside. Our work to improve health outcomes and decrease mortality is directly felt in Black and Brown communities across California – making the Black Lives Matter movement ever-present in our work. Disease-related complications further affect patients neurologically, impacting educational and career outcomes, mental health, leaving many patients medically and economically fragile.
Responding to a lack of services and programs, CWC was the first organization to serve adults living with SCD in Southern California. CWC quickly developed a statewide reputation for providing support and education to individuals and families living with SCD. Our work provides the sickle cell community with access to a grassroots network of individuals and institutions dedicated to improving patient quality of life and patient empowerment. Through events such as our Annual Sickle Cell Disease Educational Seminar, healthcare providers can access necessary tools to understand the complex needs of sickle cell disease patients and the latest developments in disease management and treatment. Support, services, and education are strengthened by CWC’s advocacy work, including political advocacy to address bias and systemic injustices facing the SCD community. Our advocacy work extends to training for individuals and families to help ensure quality SCD-informed care at the point of contact – understanding that change must come holistically from across patients, healthcare, and the greater community.
At Cayenne Wellness Center, we are devoted to naming, fighting, and addressing the historical and sociopolitical injustices that impede people with SCD from living a full life. I am proud of Cayenne Wellness Center’s twenty-one-year commitment to improving health outcomes for sickle cell disease patients, and I look forward to a new decade of opportunities and challenges.
Explore our website to learn more about sickle cell disease, our programs, and services, or get in contact with our team members. We welcome you into our community!
Program Director (2020-Present)