Mrs. Lanre Tunji-Ajayi M.S.M
President/Chief Executive Officer
Lanre is the president/CEO of the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO) and the founding president/CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada (SCDAC). Under her leadership, Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) achieved a new level of visibility and recognition in Canada as her advocacy work resulted in improved patient access to life-saving and disease-modifying therapies.
A few of the achieved feats included an impeccable national research program, provincial SCD groups coming together, inclusion of SCD in the newborn screening program of most provinces, drug approval, and the enactment of June 19th as the National Sickle Cell Awareness Day.
She is also a co-founder and the immediate past president/CEO of the Global Alliance of Sickle Cell Disease Organizations (GASCDO). In this role, she supported the foundational work essential to the formation and continuity of the organization.
During her tenure, the GASCDO achieved strong recognition within the global SCD community through partnerships with patients and their caregivers, patient organizations, care providers, hospitals, care provider institutions, and the industry. She also established programs such as the Global Sickle Cell Disease Family Network and disease-modifying webinars to support SCD families no matter where they live in the world.
GASCDO’s first awareness campaign, dubbed “SCD in My Language” was Lanre’s brainchild among other laudable feats.
Lanre also served as the chair, Network of Rare Blood Disorder Organizations; member, National Liaison Committee of the Canadian Blood Services; board member, Black Health Alliance; Chair, Governance Committee of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada, and board member, Kerry’s Place.
Furthermore, the Ontario Hemoglobinopathy Patient Association (OHPA) and the Racialized Health Initiative Working Group (RHIWP) are two of the informal groups orchestrated by Lanre in order to address disparities in care, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Lanre is nationally and internationally respected for proven leadership, ability in patient advocacy and support, patient engagement and relations, conflict resolution, organizational governance, compliance, and program development.
She has led and co-investigated research studies and received numerous awards including the Senate Canada 150 Award, 100 Accomplished Black Canadian (ABC) Women Award, and most recently, the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) conferred by the Governor-General of Canada, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Julie Payette.
Her passion for sickle cell advocacy stems from a personal instance hitting close to home. In the late ’90s, her brother, Sunday Afolabi, suffered from avoidable and treatable complications of Hemoglobin SS disease (Sickle Cell Disease) – leading to his preventable, premature death. This propelled within her, a passionate interest in patient quality-assessed care. From that time on, she immersed herself in community health advocacy and research initiatives.
Doreen Alexander has been a part of the sickle cell community and has worked for over 10 years with the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario (SCAGO) as a volunteer in many capacities. A past president of the organization, she works at the North York General Hospital as an Infection Prevention and Control Practitioner.
Presently, she is the vice-chair of the board while supporting the management team as the volunteer coordinator. Her role includes interviewing and training volunteers to fulfill the goals and objectives of the organization. Doreen has always had a passion to help people in the community, when able in various capacities. However, her drive is to help make changes at all levels of government and in the community as an advocate for those who do not have a voice for themselves, in the sickle cell community.
Chief Financial Officer
Growing up in Nigeria, Moji was exposed to the trials and sufferings of people living with Sickle Cell Anemia, yet she did not foresee the need to have herself tested until she was pregnant with her first son. An innocent question from her doctor about her sickle cell status had her scrambling, and in a panic, she got a blood test and realized she had the sickle cell trait but luckily her husband did not and thus eliminated the risk of having a child with Sickle Cell Anemia.
This was an eye-opener and fostered her desire to make a difference. She has been a strong supporter of SCAGO since 2008.
Moji has over 20 years of leadership in investment finance, corporate accounting, audit, and financial services. She is currently a Manager and Team Lead in the Investment Finance group of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). Prior to joining CPPIB, she spent 6 years as a Controller at Lumira Capital Corp., a Private Equity company. Moji started her career with KPMG where she completed her accounting articles. She held senior finance roles with Pacific Walnuts in Vancouver, BC, and Algorithmics, in Toronto, ON. Moji also worked as an audit manager with Diamond Bank PLC, Nigeria. Moji holds a BSc (Hons) in accounting from Ogun State University, Nigeria. She also holds the following professional designations: CMA (USA), CGA (Ontario), and CA (Nigeria).
Moji Ogunsanya joined the board of SCAGO in May 2014 and currently serves as its Treasurer. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Moji immigrated to Canada in February 2000 and has lived in Victoria, BC, Vancouver, and Toronto. She now calls Newmarket home, where she resides with her husband and 3 children.
Communications/Marketing/Public Relations Manager
Working to shape new conversations about Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) and guided by her mission – to advocate for health promotion and improvement of health policies in support of patients and their families; Ika joined the SCAGO in 2014 supporting various functions including the marketing, communication, and research programs.
Currently, Ika is the Communications, Marketing, and Public Relations Manager and is responsible for all CMP activities from flyer designing to branding to establishing partnerships and collaborations between SCAGO and the larger community.
In her role, Ika has raised the bar around National Sickle Cell Awareness Day as she ensures yearly that many Ontario cities and landmarks inclusive of the CN Tower, and the Niagara Falls proclaim June 19 as world SCD and are illuminated on this day.
Dr. Soji Jemitola
Soji joined SCAGO in 2018 as the Life Transitions coordinator, added on the role of research coordinator in 2019 then migrated to concentrating solely on the Research Manager role in 2020. In her time at SCAGO, she has also taken on several ad-hoc roles including communications, graphic design, workshop facilitation, grant writing, and more.
Soji’s involvement with SCAGO is not only creative but also passionate. She brings her medical knowledge, stakeholder and business management experiences, and personal empathy of having and losing relatives to the condition to promoting SCD awareness and driving care equality and accessibility, especially to the marginalized populations.
Grant Support Coordinator
Hamidat holds a BSc. Accounting and MSc. Accounting from the University of Ilorin, in Nigeria, and worked for more than 8 years in the Nigerian banking sector before relocating to Canada in 2016.
Currently, Hamidat works as a full-time bookkeeper with Furniture Bank, a charitable organization. She is also a senior financial advisor at one of the Managing General Agent (MGA) in financial as well as a qualifying sales coordinator of a Multi-level Marketing Business (MLM) company.
She is working towards her CPA designation through online self-studies with McMaster University CCE and CBAP in view. Hamidat continues to support client services at SCAGO through the Respite, Emergency, and Transportation program.
Janet Chukwu has always been very passionate about sickle cell disease (SCD) advocacy, as her younger sister was born with the disease. Her family has been fairly active in the SCAGO community since she could remember, and this year (at the start of 2020), she decided to join the team.
Janet completed her undergraduate degree last spring, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and currently works as a registered nurse in a respiratory unit. Her passion for SCD advocacy goes beyond volunteering at SCAGO- she would oftentimes educate her peers and colleagues on the disease, whenever an opportunity to do so arises.
Janet is the outreach coordinator and also an integral part of the “Meet the Family” team which visits The Hospital for Sick Children to ensure families attending the SCD clinic know of SCAGO and available resources.
Janet’s goal is to one day, as a health care professional, devote herself to doing more research on treatments and a possible cure for SCD
Coordinator, Peer and Family Support Group
Abiola’s interest in sickle cell disease (SCD) and the SCAGO stems from having a sibling who is surviving and thriving despite this disease. She is honoured to share her time and skills with the families supported by SCAGO and has been an active volunteer since 2018.
She is a detail-oriented, organized mother of two, with a HBSc in Biology and a certificate in Project Management from the University of Toronto.
She currently works as the Project Lead, Biospecimen Operations at the Ontario Health Study.
“I see the importance of community outreach in order to spread knowledge and enlightenment. I have also benefited from the peer and family support group. I appreciate the opportunity to serve with a group of devoted volunteers and look forward to continuing to be a contributing member of this organization”, advised Abiola Oduwole.
Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario
235-415 Oakdale Rd,
North York, ON
PH: 416-745-4267 (voice mail)