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James R Eckman, MD

Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Emory School of Medicine

Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Human Genetics
Emory School of Medicine

Medical Director
Georgia Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center, Grady Health System

Dr. James Eckman is Professor of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute and holds appointments as Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics in Medical Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. He received his medical training and was appointed to the faculty of University of Minnesota Medical School before being recruited to Emory in 1978. He was committed to establishing a sickle cell program at Grady Memorial Hospital, and after intensive state lobbying for funding in 1984, became Medical Director of the world’s first 24-hour comprehensive acute care sickle cell center.

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Research Interests

Dr. Eckman has broad research experience in basic science, translational research, clinical research and clinical trials. These have included studies of red cell metabolism; sickle erythrocyte endothelial interactions; coagulation activation with sickle complications; psychological and social complications from sickle cell disease; drug and chemotherapy of sickle complications; pain assessment and management; and bone marrow transplantation in sickle disease. Most recently, Dr. Eckman has begun to study pain management and genetic mechanisms of variation in response to pain and pain therapy. 

Dr. Eckman’s other interest is in public health services for individuals with genetic diseases. He has championed newborn screening for sickle cell disease on a local and national level. His work has saved the lives of many sickle cell children who would have died from pneumococcal sepsis if timely preventive care with oral penicillin prophylaxis was not started. It was through his efforts that Georgia instituted universal mandatory sickle cell screening for newborns in October of 1998. He serves as a member of several local and national committees and acts as an advocate to continue awareness and support of these programs.

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