Vichinsky, Elliott, MD

Elliott Vichinsky


Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Sickle Cell Disease, Thalassemia

Director, Cancer & Blood Diseases Center

Director, Comprehensive Thalassemia Center

Director, Comprehensive Center for Sickle Cell Disease

Senior Scientist, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute

Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF School of Medicine

Director, Hematology-Oncology

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Clinical Specialties

Thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, hemoglobinopathies, iron overload, apheresis, brain injury, chelation therapy


Board Certification
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Pediatrics


Medical School

State University of New York Downstate, NY


Children's Orthopedic Hospital & Medical Center, WA (Pediatric Hematology-Oncology)


Department of Pediatrics & Medicine, University of Washington, WA
(Senior Research Fellow)


Children's Orthopedic Hospital & Medical Center, WA

Clinic Locations

My Work

About Me

Dr. Vichinsky is Director of Hematology Oncology at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, Adjunct Professor at the University of California San Francisco, as well as the Director of the Northern California Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Centers, and the BioIron Program. He has been a federally-funded research investigator for over 30 years and national principal investigator for many successful trials. He has been principal investigator or co-investigator on many of the key translational studies in hemoglobin disorders including alloimmunization in hemoglobinopathies, the multicenter preoperative transfusion study, the national acute chest study, the national AVN trial, and the national study on neurologic injury in sickle cell. He has led several trials to understand iron trafficking and iron overload in hemoglobinopathies and was the first to prospectively evaluate the differences in iron regulation and injury between sickle cell disease and thalassemia. He has also been the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI on seminal new therapies to change the pathophysiology of sickle cell biology. He recently received an R01 to investigate neurodegenerative brain disorders due to excess iron, which is now in a phase III trial.

Dr. Vichinsky has been a strong advocate for improving national and international policy for hemoglobinopathies. He led efforts to establish a national policy for newborn screening disease (NBS). He was the PI on the seminal study that demonstrated NBS decreases mortality in sickle cell disease. In 1990, in collaboration with the state of California, he established the newborn screening program with BCHO as the reference laboratory and helped develop community education programs for sickle cell trait counselors. He also, in collaboration with the state of California, Genetics Division, established California as the first state to perform NBS for alpha thalassemia disorders and recently published congressional legislation to address this in high index states. He has helped develop NBS programs in Cuba, the Middle East, and other high-risk areas. Dr. Vichinsky has hosted an annual, international, intensive 1-week training program for hematologists to obtain hands-on training in transcranial Doppler, newborn screening, diagnostic technology, and clinical management.

Dr. Vichinsky served as Editor-in-Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology; Chairman of the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network, and Director of the Cooley’s Medical Board. He has been an active member of NIH and study sections and co-chaired NHLBI working groups in sickle cell and thalassemia. He has received many awards including the Chairman’s Award from the Sickle Cell Disease Association, the Charles W. Whitten award, the Pioneer award, Distinguished Leadership from Cooley’s Anemia Foundation; along with the Bronze Bambino, Scientific, Patient Care, and Lifetime Achievement awards from BCHO.

Dr. Vichinsky has published over 300 articles, 136 book chapters, and several books including a parent handbook for sickle cell disease that has been adopted nationally. He has also authored or co-authored 560 abstracts at national and international conferences.


  • 2008 Distinguished Leadership As Chair of the CAF Medical Advisory Board
  • 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California
  • 2007 Charles F. Whitten, M.D. Lecture, SCDAA and NHLBI, Washington, D.C.
  • 2007 Chairman’s Award, SCDAA, and NHLBI, Washington, D.C.
  • 2007 Grateful Families Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
  • 2005 Bronze Bambino Lifetime Achievement Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
  • 2004 Patient Commitment Award, Sickle Cell Community Health Network of Northern California
  • 2003 Patient Appreciation Award, Thalassemia Action Group
  • 2003 Social Worker’s Award, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
  • 2000 Scientific Achievement Award, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • 1997 Senior Scientist Award, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • 1996 Cooley's Anemia Award, Cooley's Anemia Foundation
  • 1995 Miracle Maker Award, Children's Miracle Network
  • 1979 Founder Award, Children's Sickle Cell Clinic, Seattle, Washington
  • 1979 Honor Award, Washington State Sickle Cell Program
  • 1974 Alpha Omega Alpha Award
  • 1974 Cum Laude, State University of New York Downstate
  • 1970 Cum Laude, University of Wisconsin

Selected Books

  • Lessing S, Vichinsky E. Eds. A parent's handbook for sickle cell disease, Part I: Birth to 6 Years of Age. State of California Department of Health, Genetic Disease Branch, 1990.
  • Earles A, Lessing S, Vichinsky E, Eds. A parents' handbook for sickle cell disease, Part II: 6 to 18 Years of Age. California Department of Health, Genetic Disease Branch, 1993.
  • Vichinsky E. Contributing Ed. Year book of Pediatrics 2005. Stockman III, James (editor)
  • Vichinsky EP (Editor). Cooley’s Anemia Eighth Symposium. Annals N Y Acad Science. 2005;1054.
  • Vichinsky E, et al. Standards of Care Guidelines for Thalassemia. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland. 2000, revised 2009.

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • 2005-Present American Pediatric Society
  • 2000-Present American Medical Association
  • 1997-Present American Society of Gene Therapy
  • 1993-Present Society of Pediatric Research
  • 1986-Present Western Society for Pediatric Research
  • 1985-Present American Federation for Clinical Research
  • 1985-Present American Society of Hematology
  • 1985-Present Alameda/Contra Costa County Medical Association
  • 1985-Present California Medical Association
  • 1981-Present American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
  • 1982-Present East Bay Pediatric Society
  • 1979-Present Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • 1969-Present Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society

Selected Research and Publications:

  1. Piel FG, Kato G, Weatherall D, Costa F, Ohene-Frempong K, Krishnamurti L, Smith W, Panepinto J, Vichinsky E. Sickle cell disease for basic scientists. Nature Reviews Disease Primers. Nature. 2016 (in press)
  2. Vichinsky EP. ed. Emerging Therapies Targeting the Pathophysiology of Sickle Cell Disease. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America 2014/03/05 ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, Inc.; 2014.
  3. Neumayr N, Vichinsky E.Stroke recurrence in adult sickle cell patients: it is time for action! Transfusion. 2016 May;56(5):1001-4.
  4. Porter JB, Walter PB, Neumayr LD, Evans P, Bansal S, Garbowski M, Weyhmiller MG, Harmatz PR, Wood JC, Miller JL, Byrnes C, Weiss G, Seifert M, Grosse R, Grabowski D, Schmidt A, Fischer R, Nielsen P, Niemeyer C, Vichinsky E. Mechanisms of plasma non-transferrin bound iron generation: insights from comparing transfused diamond blackfan anaemia with sickle cell and thalassaemia patients. Br J Haematol. 2014 Dec;167(5):692-6.
  5. Vichinsky E. Non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia and thalassemia intermedia: epidemiology, complications, and management. Curr Med Res Opin. 2016;32(1):191.-204.
  6. Ballas S, Vichinsky E. Is the medical home for adult patients with sickle cell disease a reality or an illusion? Hemoglobin. 2015;39(2):130-3.
  7. Morris CR, Kim HY, Klings ES, Wood J, Porter JB, Trachtenberg F, Sweeters N, Olivieri NF, Kwiatkowski JL, Virzi L, Hassell K, taher A, Neufeld EJ, Thompson AA, Larkin S, Suh JH, Vichinsky EP, and Kuypers FA on behalf of the TCRN. Dysregulated arginine metabolism and cardiopulmonary dysfunction in patients with thalassemia. Br J Haematol. 2015 Jun;169(6):887- 98.
  8. Vichinsky E, Neumayr L, Trimble S, Giardina PJ, Cohen AR, Coates T, Boudreaux J, Neufeld EJ, Kenney K, Grant A, Thompson AA; CDC Thalassemia Investigators. Transfusion complications in thalassemia patients: a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transfusion. 2014 Apr;54(4):972-81.
  9. Vichinsky EP (editor). Emerging therapy in hemoglobinopathies: lessons from the past and optimism for the future. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2014 Apr;28(2):xiii-xviii.
  10. Gladwin MT, Vichinsky E. Pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(21):2254-65.
  11. Vichinsky E, Neumayr L, Earles A, Williams R, Lennette E, Dean D, Nickerson B, Orringer E, McKie V, Bellevue R, Daeschner C, Manci E, For the National Acute Chest Syndrome Study Group. Causes and Outcomes of the Acute Chest Syndrome in Sickle Cell Disease. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1855-65.
  12. Vichinsky E, Neumayr LD, Gold JI, Weiner MW, Rule RR, Truran D, Kasten J, Eggleston B, Kesler K, McMahon L, Orringer EP, Harrington T, Kalinyak K, De Castro LM, Kutlar A, Rutherford CJ, Johnson C, Bessman JD, Jordan LB, Armstrong FD. Neuropsychological Dysfunction and Neuroimaging Abnormalities in Neurologically Intact Adults with Sickle Cell Anemia. JAMA. 2010;303(18):1823-1831.
  13. Vichinsky EP, Haberkern CM, Neumayr L, Earles AN, Black D, Koshy M, Pegelow C, Abboud M, Ohene-Frempong K, Iyer RV, and the Preoperative Transfusion in Sickle Cell Disease Study Group. A comparison of conservative and aggressive transfusion regimens in the perioperative management of sickle cell disease. N Engl J Med 1995:333:206-13.