BROOKLYN - Brookdale Hospital hosted a Sickle Cell Disease Summit with doctors, nurses and social workers on Friday to discuss approaches to treating Brooklyn patients with the disease.

The New York State Department of Health states that one in 12 African-Americans carry the sickle cell trait. They also say that people of Caribbean descent are more likely to carry the disease.

Workers at Brookdale Hospital say a majority of their patients are of African-American and Caribbean descent and need to be made aware of the disease.

Dr. Kusam Viswanathan, chair of Pediatric Hematology, says that sickle cell can affect every organ in the body. Medical problems that have been associated with the disease include pain, stroke, lung tissue damage and serious infections.

Doctors say in the 1970s babies with sickle cell did not live very long, but now because of advancements in medicine those with sickle cell are living longer than ever. 

Organizers of the event say the purpose is to spread awareness, improve the care offered to sickle cell patients in New York and to encourage those who might carry the gene to get tested.