Research chair for sickle cell named in Rep. Calvin Smyre’s honor

Published: May. 13, 2021 at 10:13 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New funding in the state budget will help bring healthcare access to all sickle cell patients in the state. This is all due to a partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory, and the Morehouse School of Medicine.

A name known locally will also play a major role in these efforts.

In an era of strong political divides, a nice bipartisan moment happened this week when local and state leaders gathered and recognized Georgia’s “Dean of the House” - Columbus’ own representative Calvin Smyre.

“I’m definitely excited to be in Columbus today and be with my good friend Calvin Smyre,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

Smyre has served in the House of Representatives for 47 years.

“...And we are announcing today the research chair will be named after Columbus’ own, Representative Calvin Smyre,” said Gov. Brian Kemp.

Smyre has been an advocate in the medical field for decades, a member of the Morehouse School of Medicine Board of Trustees, and now a name that will be enshrined in a special place in medical research.

A research chair for sickle cell will be named in his honor and an eminent scholar will be recruited to Georgia to study sickle cell anemia.

“I’m just overwhelmed...”

160 kids are born in Georgia every year with sickle cell and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is one of the largest researchers of the condition in the country.

The partnership between Children’s, The Georgia Research Alliance, Emory University and Morehouse will all work together with a five year, 15-million-dollar program named for Smyre to give kids with sickle cell their best shot at life.

“Absolutely awesome and it’s going to mean so much to people who are suffering from sickle cell disease all the way across the state of Georgia for us to have the eminent scholar, and it’s just an honor for Calvin Smyre’s name to be attached,” said Rep. Carolyn Hugley, (D) Columbus, District 136.

“To name an eminent scholar in my name at those three institutions is quite an honor,” said Rep. Calvin Smyre, (D) Columbus, District 135.

This research chair honoring Smyre is modeled after a Parkinson’s Research Chair named after Senator Johnny Isakson.

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