Marie Ojiambo has a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree from the University of Nairobi, School of Pharmacy and is currently pursuing her Masters in Industrial Pharmacy at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. She is majoring in drug research and development studies, with a focus in formulation sciences. Marie was born with sickle cell disease, diagnosed at the age of 1 and has since been living with the condition.
Marie is a global advocate of sickle cell disease awareness. In 2013, she founded the Sickle Strong Initiative (SSI), a Kenyan based charity that helps sickle cell warriors and their family members. Through SSI, Marie hosted medical training and awareness campaigns for the sickle cell disease community in Kenya. She created the annual public awareness event, Ongea (meaning: to speak out!), a platform for sickle cell warriors to talk about their condition, share and interact. It provides an opportunity for the warriors to engage with and challenge the government, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, CBO’s, NGO’s, other stakeholders as well as the public on what they are doing to improve the health care and environment that sickle cell warriors are exposed to.
Aside from being named Miss Kenya USA (2013) and the People’s Princess Miss Africa USA (2013), Marie received humanitarian awards and honors from the Kenya community for her efforts in raising sickle cell disease awareness.