Feasibility of Medical Student Mentors to Improve Transition in Sickle Cell Disease

Adrienne S. Viola, Richard Drachtman, Amanda Kaveney, Ashwin Sridharan, Beth Savage, Cristine Delnevo, Elliot J. Coups, Jerlym S. Porter, Katie Recuay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Advances in medical care have resulted in nearly 95% of all children with sickle cell disease (SCD) living to adulthood. There is a lack of effective transition programming, contributing to high rates of mortality and morbidity among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) during the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare. This nonrandomized study evaluated the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary outcomes of a novel medical student mentor intervention to improve transition outcomes for AYA with SCD. Methods: Eligible participants were ages 18-25 years, either preparing for transition or had transferred to adult care within the past year. Twenty-four AYA with SCD (Mage = 20.3, SD = 2.6) enrolled in the program and were matched with a medical student mentor. Feasibility and acceptability of the intervention was assessed through enrollment rates, reasons for refusal, retention rates, engagement with the intervention, satisfaction, and reasons for drop-out. Dependent t-tests were used to evaluate the preliminary effects of the intervention on patient transition readiness, health-related quality of life, self-efficacy, SCD knowledge, medication adherence, and health literacy. Results: Participants (N = 24) demonstrated adequate retention (75.0%), adherence to the intervention (M = 5.3 of 6 sessions), and satisfaction with the intervention components. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in transition readiness (p =. 001), self-efficacy (p =. 002), medication adherence (p =. 02), and health literacy (p =. 05). Conclusions: A medical student mentor intervention to facilitate transition from pediatric to adult care for AYA with SCD is both feasible and acceptable to patients and medical students. Preliminary results suggest benefits for patients, warranting a larger efficacy study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-661
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • adolescents
  • emerging/young adults
  • pilot/feasibility trial
  • sickle cell disease
  • social functioning and peers


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