Mrs. Lanre Tunji-Ajayi M.S.M
Lanre is a respected leader and global patient advocate for the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) community, with decades of experience in patient engagement, organizational governance and program development.
As the Founder of the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO) and Co-Founder/Founding President & CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada (SCDAC), Lanre’s leadership and advocacy is instrumental to the greater visibility and recognition of SCD in Canada.
Her passion is personal. Following the death of her brother Sunday Afolabi from preventable and treatable complications of SCD, Lanre immersed herself in advocacy for community health and quality patient care.
Through Lanre’s ongoing advocacy at the helm of SCAGO and SCDAC, Canadians living with SCD continue to benefit from improved patient access and disease-modifying therapies.
These important successes include:
- Inclusion of SCD in the newborn screening programs of most Canadian provinces and Territories;
- Approval of iron-chelating drug therapies;
- Relaxation of Health Canada’s policies restricting blood donors and their sexual partners from certain African countries;
- Safeguarding an increased supply of phenotype-matched blood for SCD patients in Canadian Blood Banks; and
- The passing of Bill S-211, which formally recognized June 19th as National Sickle Cell Awareness Day in Canada and Bill 255 as Provincial Sickle Cell Awareness Day in Ontario
Lanre is committed to addressing disparities in care while strengthening equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Canadian health care system. To support these efforts, Lanre was instrumental in the establishment of both the Ontario Hemoglobinopathy Patient Association (OHPA) and the Racialized Health Initiative Working Group (RHIWP). Her effort to build bridges across organizations dedicated to SCD are increasingly worldwide in scope, most notably through her capacity as a Co-Founder and the founding president/CEO of the Global Alliance of Sickle Cell Disease Organizations (GASCDO).
Lanre has and continues to serve in leadership roles on numerous committees and boards focused on addressing issues related to SCD, hematological disorders, and health care for racialized communities. These include past service as the Chair of the Network of Rare Blood Disorder Organizations, as well as a member of the National Liaison Committee of Canadian Blood Services, and the Black Health Alliance. She has also served as a board member of Kerry’s Place, a leading service provider for supporting families of individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Lanre is also a consultant to leading pharmaceutical companies involved in the treatment of SCD. She is also a member of the Sickle Cell Disease Coalition (SCDC) of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), a global initiative.
She currently serves at numerous tables at the Ontario Health/Ministry of Health.
Lanre is also the senior partner at Taskop Global Consulting Inc. and co-founder of All Naturals Cosmetics Inc- the first Black-owned Canadian company with products in selected mass stores including Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Jean Contu, Pharma Plus, etc.
In recognition of her continuing advocacy and leadership on behalf of individuals living with SCD and their families, Lanre is a recipient of the Governor-General’s Meritorious Service Medal (MSM), the Senate Canada 150 Award, and was recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian (ABC) Women in 2018.