Born in the US to immigrant parents, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu’s advocacy journey began with middle and high school stints as a volunteer tutor; later, she served as an undergraduate working with refugee children in a housing project and as a mentor in public schools.
After graduating with a BA in International Relations, Morénike, spent several years in the non-profit sector working with a variety of disenfranchised groups, including women, at-risk teens, and refugee families.
In recent years, she has channeled the majority of her advocacy in volunteer community work. Morenike currently chairs the Global Community Advisory Board for the NIH Division of AIDS (DAIDS) funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), which is the world’s oldest and largest international community HIV clinical trials program. She also serves in various other capacities within DAIDS.
Morénike is a Houston Project-Wide Part D community advisory board member and has also previously chaired the Houston Ryan White Planning Council in addition to chairing its Operations and the Quality Assurance Committees and various Ryan White workgroups. She is also a member of the advisory board of the AIDS Alliance for Women, Infants, Children, Youth, and Families.
Morénike formerly served on the CDC-funded elimination of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission US Working Group and the Families and Schools Together Project. She was one of the founding members of the Houston Area Partnership for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
She is the founder of the former Positive Playdates, a playdate group (now merged with a local nonprofit) that connected HIV affected families and refugee youth, and of the newly launched Advocacy Without Borders, an initiative to reduce disparities through education, community advocacy and self-empowerment. Additionally, Morénike is currently involved in a variety of leadership efforts related to Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part D Program advocacy.
Morénike, is currently completing a graduate degree in Developmental Disabilities and will follow up with a doctoral program focusing on developing leadership skills within underrepresented groups such as disabled individuals and recent immigrants.
She is the proud mother of six beautiful biological and adoptive children; together they comprise a proud multicultural, multinational, neurodiverse, HIV affected family of color. She blogs about her life at Who Needs Normalcy.