Meet Dr. Alecia Nero
Hematologist Specializing in Sickle Cell Disease
For people with sickle cell disease (SCD), an inherited blood disorder, adolescence is a critical time, says Alecia Nero, M.D.
A hematology specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Nero cares for patients with non-malignant (non-cancerous) blood and bone-marrow conditions that include sickle cell disease, abnormal blood counts and a range of anemias and platelet disorders, including thrombocythemia.
I want to have a dialogue about the ways we can, together, take care of you.”
Dr. Nero also leads UT Southwestern’s pioneering Transition Sickle Cell Program, which educates adolescents with sickle cell disease about their condition, teaches them to manage their own health, prepares them for the adult medical system to which they transition at age 18, and helps them develop relationships with the post-transition providers who will care for them.
“I try to educate patients – not make choices for them – and prepare them for what they need to know when they’re making decisions that affect their health,” she says. “There are a lot of nuances for every individual in addition to their health status, and I try to consider those and gauge where each person is.”
Dr. Nero also counsels sickle cell disease patients – both before and after they are sexually active – about the implications of having this inherited disease when they start families.
“Because these patients – depending on their mate’s carrier status – have a risk of having a child with sickle cell disease, patient care includes family planning,” she says. “I welcome my patients to invite their partners to participate in this discussion during clinic visits so they can make informed choices as a couple.”
This underscores Dr. Nero’s philosophy that communication and working together are critical to keeping patients as healthy as possible.
“I view patient care as a partnership, and I tell patients that I need them to weigh in as much as I weigh in so we can come to a place where we’re both happy,” she says.
“Often in medicine, we see people during some of the worst times of their lives, and I feel so honored and lucky when patients trust me to care for them,” Dr. Nero says.
“I’m proud to be able to advocate for them and to participate in their lives, their health, and their families.”