Lanre Tunji-Ajayi, BSC H.I.D H.I.S.
Founder, Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario; Co-founder, Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada (SCDAC)
Founder of the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario, Mrs. Lanre Tunji-Ajayi is a patient advocate supporting patients and families to ensure they have good quality of life comparable to their peers. Also a co-founder of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Canada (SCDAC), she served in the role of the President/CEO of the association from 2012- 2017 and as the chair of its governance committee in 2018.
Under her leadership, sickle cell disease (SCD) has gained a new level of recognition in Canada. Some notable achievements include the coming together of provincial SCD Associations; inclusion of SCD in the newborn screening program of many provinces and territories; establishment of the Canadian research agenda; parliamentarians becoming more knowledgeable about minority health issues; and the passing of Bill S-211- An Act recognizing June 19 as National Sickle Cell Awareness Day, establishing Canada as the first country in the world to formalize this recognition as law.
With her extensive knowledge in patient advocacy and support, Mrs. Lanre Tunji-Ajayi continues to advocate with the government, schools and workplaces on behalf of families affected by sickle cell disease. Her advocacy work has resulted in improved patient access to life-saving and disease modifying treatment in her home province of Ontario.
Through advocacy, she helped relax Health Canada’s policy permanently deferring potential blood donors and their sexual partners from certain African countries, safeguarding an increased supply of phenotype-matched blood (to support individuals living with sickle cell disease) in Canadian Blood Banks.
A consultant to the industry, she supports patient organizations both locally and internationally. In addition, she has taken a strong interest in research, co-investigating and leading research studies.
Mrs. Tunji-Ajayi has received numerous awards including the Senate Canada 150 Award and 100 Accomplished Black Canadian (ABC) Women Award.
A past chair of the Network for Rare Blood Disorders (NRBDO); past board member of the Black Health Alliance (BHA); past board member of Kerry’s place- an agency supporting individuals with autism and past member of the National Liaison Committee of the Canadian Blood Service (CBS); Mrs. Tunji-Ajayi continues to support her community in various capacities.