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Our Experts at the UPMC Adult Sickle Cell Disease Program

Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive clinical services to help you efficiently manage your sickle cell disease or thalassemia.

We also work very closely with our pediatric partners at the Sickle Cell Program of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Drs. Cheryl Hillery and Debra Cohen and other team members.”

​Dr. Laura De Castro, MD, MHSc

Laura De Castro, MD, MHSc ​

Hematologist

Laura De Castro, MD, MHSc is a board-certified hematologist with 30 years of experience caring for adults with sickle cell disease.  She is a Visiting Associate Professor in Medicine and the Clinical Chief of the Benign Hematology section in the Division of Hematology-Oncology. Dr. De Castro has been a national leader in designing and conducting clinical trials and translational research projects focused on various aspects of sickle cell disease, and as the site Principal Investigator on major multicenter NIH and pharmaceutical company-sponsored clinical trials in sickle cell disease.

She is the former Medical Director of the Adult Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Duke University. 

Gregory J. Kato, MD

​Gregory J. Kato, MD

Hematologist

Gregory Kato, MD is a board-certified hematologist with over 30 years of experience caring for adults and children with sickle cell disease at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, and now at UPMC.  He is experienced in all aspects of sickle cell disease, and is a national expert on pulmonary hypertension in patients with sickle cell disease. Dr. Kato is recognized as one of the top physicians for sickle cell anemia on Expertscape.com.

Dr. Kato's research interests include pulmonary hypertension, early phase clinical trials and translational research.  He also serves as the Medical Director for the Children's Sickle Cell Foundation.

Enrico Novelli, MD, MS

Enrico Novelli, MD, MS

Hematologist

Enrico Novelli, MD, is a board-certified hematologist with expertise in sickle cell anemia, hemoglobinopathies and hemostatic disorders. Dr. Novelli was appointed head of the UPMC Adult Sickle Cell Anemia Program in 2007 and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Hematology/Oncology fellowship program in 2008.

Dr. Novelli splits his time between bench and clinical research and patient care. He currently holds a weekly sickle cell clinic on Wednesday afternoon at the Hillman Cancer Center and shares responsibility of the inpatient sickle cell service with Dr. De Castro  and Dr.Kato.  His research activities aim at elucidating the causes of vascular dysfunction in patients with sickle cell disease.

Dominique Stevens-Young, MSW, LCSW

Dominique Stevens-Young, MSW, LCSW

Program Manager

Mrs. Stevens-Young graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelors degree in 1995, then her Masters degree in 1998, both from the University of Pittsburgh. She then received her Advanced Clinical Social Work license in 2007.

She works as an advocate for those with SCD in both the community and medical settings. Mrs Young currently serves as the Senior Clinician and Program administrator with our adult program. In her current role with the UPMC Adult Sickle Cell Disease Program, she:

  • Offers specialized psychosocial consultation services on a case by case basis to case managers, social workers and other psychosocial providers who serve persons with SCD.
  • Manages and coordinates daily program activities
  • Conducts comprehensive assessments of patients’ psychosocial needs.
  • Coordinates ongoing psychosocial care and supportive services
  • Refers patients to community based social resources and psychological services
  • Facilitates SCD self management, support and psychoeducational groups

Bethany Mingle, PA-C

Physician Assistant

Amy Hopper-Schneider, CRNP

Nurse Practitioner

Bethany and Amy work as liaisons between the UPMC sickle cell disease consult service and the internal medicine or subspecialist teams in both clinical and inpatient settings, and in the day hospital. Amy worked for many years as a nurse at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Evelyn Wrzosek

​Evelyn Wrzosek, RN, CMRSN

Collaborative Nurse

Evelyn has worked at UPMC since 2004 and has been a member of the Adult Sickle Cell Team since 2008. Prior to this position, she served as a staff nurse at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital on their Medical-Surgical and Orthopedic units.

Her nursing career has spanned four decades, with experience in psychiatric & pediatric nursing. She previously worked at the UPMC organ transplant hospital ISMETT in Palermo, Sicily.  She has been recognized with the UPMC CancerCenter Hope Award for extraordinary commitment to care.

Kate McCarthy, RN

Kate McCarthy, BSN, RN, OCN

Collaborative Nurse

Kate works in Dr. Kato's clinic, held on Tuesday and Friday mornings.  She has been helping to care for patients with sickle cell disease since 2013.  She has delivered presentations at several national meetings in recent years, representing the UPMC CancerCenter.

​Julie Haught, BSN, RN, OCN

Collaborative Nurse

Julie works in Dr. De Castro's clinic, held on Mondays and Wednesdays.  She has been has been a nurse at UPMC CancerCenter for over 25 years.  She has been recognized for her outstanding patient care with the Cameos of Caring Nurses of Western Pennsylvania Award.

Susan Sylvester, RN

Nurse Case Manager

Susan focuses on helping patients to manage their treatment with hydroxyurea. She has worked in various aspects of sickle cell and hemophilia care for many years, including in home care and case management programs. 

​Jude Jonassaint, RN

Research Nurse

Jude has been coordinating clinical research trials in sickle cell disease for over 13 years, previously at Duke University and since 2014 at UPMC.  He has clinical nursing experience in intensive care, surgery and psychiatry and he has become expert in information technology and data analysis in clinical research.  Duke University recognized him with the the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for significant contributions to the community and to those who lead lives of integrity.

Chaquica Shipman, MA, BSc

Clincial Research Assisttant

Keka earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Chatham University, and a Bacheolor's Degree in Health Sciences from the Medical University of the Americas. She coordinates clinical trials for adults with sickle cell disease, with previous experience at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

 

Other Members of the Sickle Cell Disease Care Team

 Mark Gladwin, MD

Mark Gladwin, MD

Pulmonologist

Mark Gladwin, MD, received his medical degree from the University of Miami Medical Education Honors Program. He completed his internship and served as chief resident during his residency at Oregon Health Sciences University.

He then joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a critical care fellow and later served as Chief of the Pulmonary and Vascular Medicine Branch within the NHLBI of NIH for over a decade. During his tenure as an NIH Branch Chief, Dr. Gladwin’s research activities led to four scientific discoveries and have resulted in over 150 published peer-reviewed manuscripts, 25 approved human subject protocols, and over 1,000 patient protocol enrollments at the NIH Clinical Center.

In 2008, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine named Gladwin Chief of the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine Division and Director of the Vascular Medicine Institute.  In 2015, he became Chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dr. Gladwin's current clinical research interests focus on pulmonary hypertension and other pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease. Through his research and clinical trials, Dr. Gladwin will continue working tirelessly toward the development of new therapies and, ultimately, a widely available cure for sickle cell disease.

Seen and heard — Dr. Gladwin in the news

Dr. Charles Jonassaint, PhD

Charles Jonassaint, PhD

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Charles Jonassaint obtained his PhD from Duke University, and completed his fellowship at Johns Hopkins.  He is devloted to helping patients better manage psychosocial stress, chronic pain and depression.  In his present research, he is primarily interested in designing and implementing health IT interventions that will address the chronic health care needs of patients with sickle cell disease and their families. 

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