Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota chief equity and inclusion officer receives award for efforts to support those with sickle cell disease

Honor to be presented during Sickle Cell Foundation of Minnesota annual gala

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 27, 2019) – Children’s Minnesota announced today that James Burroughs, chief equity and inclusion officer for the pediatric health system, has won the Sickle Cell Health Equity Champion Award from the Sickle Cell Foundation of Minnesota.

Burroughs is receiving the honor for his unyielding commitment to promoting and advancing issues pertaining to sickle cell disease and other health disparities through advocacy, education and social justice. He will be presented with the award during the second-annual “Sickle Cell-ebration of Hope” fundraising gala Sept. 27 at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

“I am incredibly honored to be receiving this award. The advocacy and awareness work we have done for sickle cell disease is helping close gaps in care for those impacted by this disease,” Burroughs said. “Sickle Cell disease and its impact on the community has been on the rise in Minnesota, and this makes it even more critical for us to ensure that the warriors who have this condition and their families are getting the equitable care and attention they need. We eventually want to cure sickle cell disease and end all health care disparities in Minnesota.”

For Burroughs, sickle cell disease is very personal. His daughter, Teresa, has the condition and has been receiving treatment at Children’s Minnesota for many years. Sickle cell disease, a condition in which there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body, disproportionately affects people of African descent. The disease is known to cause extreme, unpredictable pain, often leading to emergency room visits, hospitalizations and blood transfusions.

“We know James has done so much in the way of educating the community about how to support our sickle cell warriors,” said Rae Blaylark, founder and director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Minnesota. “That includes encouraging those in the African-American community to donate blood and helping our local schools understand the unique needs of kids who have this disease. He has been a true champion for our mission.”

To donate to Children’s cancer and blood disorders program, visit the giving page at Children’s Minnesota.

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is the seventh largest pediatric health system in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Additionally, Children’s is Minnesota’s only Level I pediatric trauma center inside a hospital dedicated solely to children. Children’s maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s received Magnet® recognition from The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and was verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons in 2018. Additionally, Children’s is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital. Please visit


Dina Elrashidy