Sickle Cell Symposium Sept. 18 to Focus on ‘Mind, Body and Soul’

By Ben Boulden

The topic of the symposium is “Sickle Cell: Mind, Body and Soul.”

Meeting on the 12th floor of the UAMS Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Sickle Cell Symposium is presented by Future Builders Inc. and Arkansas Black Nurses Association in collaboration with the UAMS Adult Sickle Cell Clinical Program.

Registration is required. To register in advance for the symposium and for more information, go to, or email Leigh Ann Wilson at Registration and networking at the symposium will start at 5 p.m.

Shamonica Wiggins, a patient living with sickle cell disease, will share the story of her personal journey and her experience with depression. Wiggins is one of the founders of Bold Lips for Sickle Cell.

Rev. Johnny Smith Jr. will be the pastoral speaker at the symposium. He serves as the pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff and as the chaplain for the Pine Bluff Police Department. A certified religious assistant with the Arkansas Department of Correction, Smith is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Christian University-Morris Booker College in Dermott.

Leigh Ann Wilson, a licensed clinical social worker, will discuss local resources that can help patients cope with sickle cell disease. She has worked in the UAMS Adult Sickle Cell Clinical Program for four years. Wilson has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.