Who We Are
Sickle Cell 101 (SC101) is a Silicon Valley-based non-profit organization that specializes in sickle cell education. Over the years SC101’s global and world-renowned platforms have become reliable sources of information trusted by patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders. Our educational resources encompass information for sickle cell disease (SCD) and sickle cell trait (SCT). Our work is dedicated to providing evidence-based, patient friendly content to the sickle cell community and that is what sets us apart.
Our mission: To educate, empower and connect the global sickle cell community through targeted digital engagement and data-driven initiatives.
- Sickle Cell 101 providing sickle cell trait information at NFL player, Donovan Peoples-Jones training camp.
- Abi hosting an education session for the Sickle Cell Association of Grenada.
- Educating students about sickle cell at an elementary school health fair.
- NFL player Donovan Peoples-Jones and our Director of Research and Partnerships, Dr. Stephen Boateng.
- Team member Ada Gonzalez shares her experience in enrolling in a clinical trial for hydroxyurea.
- Guest lecture at Stanford University pre-medical students program.
The Sickle Cell NerdsWe’re individuals living with sickle cell disease bubbling with an insane amount of passion to help others in our shoes. We’re caregivers who spend their free time reading the latest sickle cell publications to stay informed for our loved ones. We’re experts who go the extra mile to have deep and meaningful conversations with people who want to learn how to overcome their challenges with sickle cell. We’re allies who know some of us we may never truly understand the pain or burden, but we believe it every single time and here to help. We live, breathe, and eat sickle cell education and advocacy. We’re the Sickle Cell Nerds.
Our HistorySharing information about sickle cell on social media started off as a hobby for Sickle Cell 101’s founder, Cassandra Trimnell. Back when social media users were posting scenic photos and selfies on their Instagram, Trimnell had discovered an online sickle cell community.In an effort to educate herself and others living with the condition, Trimnell shared her in learnings in digestible graphics, at the time, an innovative way to reach others and strengthen the digital community. Soon after, Sickle Cell 101 was founded in 2013 and 10 years later the goal still remains the same – to provide accessible sickle cell education for all.
Our educational material reaches millions of people annually.
Over 70% percent of our users are individuals living with sickle cell disease. Since its founding in 2013, Sickle Cell 101 has earned the trust of the global sickle cell community as a top-choice and a reliable source of information.
While our audience mostly consist of individuals living with sickle cell disease, our platforms are also utilized by caregivers and family members, healthcare providers, researchers, medical students, advocates, professionals working within the space, public figures and allies. Our referrals often come from healthcare institutions and universities, other patient advocacy groups.
While we’ve come a long way, we have so much many more people to reach, which is why collaboration is a cornerstone of the work we do to service the global sickle cell community.
Team Sickle Cell 101
Founder & Executive Director
Cassandra Trimnell is a prominent advocate for individuals living with sickle cell disease, renowned for her role as the founder and executive director of Sickle Cell 101 (SC101).
As the first child diagnosed with sickle cell disease through the Iowa Newborn Screening Program in 1987, Trimnell has dedicated her life to bridging knowledge gaps and addressing the needs of the global sickle cell community.Under her leadership, SC101 has flourished, offering unparalleled digital platforms that generate real-time community insights and patient experience data. With over 50,000 followers from 115 countries, SC101’s social media presence has become a trusted resource, reaching millions annually.Recognized for her expertise, Trimnell has received multiple accolades, including the prestigious “Community Champion” award from the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. As a sought-after speaker and consultant, she contributes her patient advocacy to influential boards and committees, such as the NIH-NHLBI’s Sickle Cell Disease Advisory Committee and the American Society of Hematology’s Sickle Cell Disease Coalition. Trimnell’s significant contributions encompass collaborations on impactful projects, including the New England Journal of Medicine’s “Sickle Cell and Gene Therapy Patient and Physician Perspectives” video series and the NHLBI’s Cure Sickle Cell Initiative.Her tireless dedication and unwavering commitment have solidified her as a respected leader and advocate for all stakeholders affected by sickle cell disease, inspiring innovation in education, research, and awareness to improve the lives of countless individuals and families impacted by sickle cell.
Stephen Boateng, PharmD, RPH
Director of Research
Dr. Stephen Boateng is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. As a pharmacist by training, his passion in healthcare stems from his sister living with sickle cell disease and him being a sickle cell trait carrier. Dr. Boateng’s current research focus area is in sickle cell trait and health equity programs aimed at improving the quality of care and access for sickle cell patients globally. Outside his role as a researcher, he also provides clinical expertise as a medical writer/editor for sickle cell 101 and is the co-host of The Sickle Cell Podcast. He is the founder of NOB Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing healthcare resources primarily to individuals living with sickle cell disease, support malaria care, and maternal health in under-resourced communities in Africa. He has completed a clinical rotation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN with a major focus on sickle cell and hematology. Dr. Boateng received his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Idaho State University and completed his post-doctoral fellowship in the Rutgers Pharmaceutical Industry Fellowship Program. During his fellowship, he worked as a life sciences trainer in global oncology and served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University. He currently works as a commercial training and development professional at Daiichi Sankyo Inc. Dr. Boateng enjoys soccer and is currently a coach at the New York Red Bulls working within the Training Programs Division in New Jersey.Read more
Shawna Barnes, PfMP, PMP
Shawna Barnes has been passionate about sickle cell and sickle cell advocacy since her childhood, with her interest stemming from her diagnosis early on in life. Her curiosity for patient education paired with her natural affinity for organization and “getting things done” let her to being a part of the SC101 organization. She completed her undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and e-business at Concordia University, pursued graduate studies in Project Management and Internet Business at McGill University, and will be completing her executive MBA at the University of Fredericton. Additionally Shawna holds her Project Management Professional and Portfolio Management Professional certifications from the Project Management Institute. Shawna has also been Director of Operations of two pharmaceutical agencies, where she oversaw teams of project managers, developers, and operations working on a multitude of projects, including haematological products. Shawna is equally passionate about technology on the evolving landscape of the digital world as she is about new treatments options available to Sickle Cell patients, and enjoys reading up on new developments from her office chair.Read more
Keith Quirolo, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Quirolo is an expert in sickle cell disease and thalassemia who was formally the Director of the Pediatric Sickle Cell Program and the Apheresis Program at UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital Oakland. He received his undergraduate at San Francisco State University as a nursing assistant and following a degree in biology went to nursing school at the UCSF School of Nursing. Following graduation he worked as a hematology-oncology nurse in San Francisco, and attended Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. Following medical school he completed a pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital Oakland and joined a pediatric practice in Berkeley. Continuing to have a desire to care for children outside of his practice, he worked in the urgent care center at Children’s Hospital. After about ten years of pediatric practice he joined the hematology department at what is now UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Initially he was the pediatrician for sickle cell and thalassemia patients eventually becoming the director of the pediatric sickle cell program. With a desire to provide red cell exchange for patients with sickle cell disease, he started the apheresis program at the hospital, which expanded to become a comprehensive apheresis unit providing all types of apheresis therapy. Wanting to become more educated about red cell transfusion he completed a fellowship in Transfusion Medicine through the Pathology Department at UCSF School of Medicine.Read more
In 1990, her doctor at the time was studying under a researcher in Montefiore who was studying hydroxyurea in sickle cell patients. Although the study was not complete, they decided to let start the therapy. Once she started, for the first time in her life, she was out of the hospital for more than three months; crises were not as severe as they once were. Ada has been able to work steadily without interruption for the past 28 years. She is a medical assistant by trade and has been an office manager to the cardiology practice for 9 years and in the field for 24 years. She has been married to her wonderful husband for over 12 years, and her family also includes two beautiful and talented nieces, two handsome step-grandsons and 1 beautiful step-granddaughter. Her family is very supportive family, starting from her mother, sister, aunts and cousins, and her extended family through marriage. She also has a Carolina dog / Shepherd mix, whom she adores. Ada volunteers for local sickle cell organizations and provides educational content in for Spanish-speaking sickle cell population.Read more
Abibat Oshiobugie is passionate about sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. Her passion for sickle cell stems from having two siblings with the disease and her and her other siblings with the trait. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. She is currently a medical student and plans to serve in primary care with a focus on sickle cell disease after residency. She hopes to be able to continue to impact the sickle cell community through Sickle Cell 101 especially with educational and research content. Abi loves hiking, cooking, and dancing. She is passionate about bringing and navigating through fitness to all levels of health. She loves mentoring other premeds and advocates for more women especially minorities in medicine to serve underserved communities.Read more
Sabrina Ehrlich graduated from California State University, East Bay with a degree in Psychology and a concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She is passionate about mental health and to be an advocate by representation and awareness for the Filipino community, specifically women and LGBTQIA+-, and other underserved communities. She plans to attain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or Psychiatry to better serve society and promote mental wellness among underserved communities. Thus, one of her motivations towards her passion is having two sisters with sickle cell disease, as well as two other siblings with sickle cell trait, which led her to wanting to be involved in the sickle cell community. She aspires by how SC101 uses its platforms to globally advocate for sickle cell disease and trait education, research, and awareness. This work has fueled her interests in continuing within this research space, specific to mental and physical well-being.Read more
Natalie’s advocacy for sickle cell is driven by her belief in the power of education. Her psychology background from UCLA further enhances her support for underserved communities. Her experience at UCLA’s Dieting, Stress, and Health Lab along with experience aiding Los Angeles women’s shelters have deepened her understanding of health challenges in marginalized communities. She values inclusivity and equitable treatment above all, and is committed to positively impacting those affected by sickle cell.Read more
Angela Ehrlich, MA, MSW
Chair of Board
Angela’s passion for sickle cell advocacy and education stems from her being a mother of five– two with sickle cell disease and two with sickle cell trait. She is currently a principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Newark, California. Being an educator has given her an immense amount of experience on how to educate others about sickle cell and provide sickle cell counseling. Angela has an M.A. in Educational Leadership and Administration from Iowa State University, and an M.A. in Guidance Counseling/Human Growth & Development from the University of Iowa.Read more
Markus is an avid supporter of educating and raising awareness for sickle cell. As a loving husband of a sickle cell warrior, he wholeheartedly aligns with Sickle Cell 101’s mission. Markus is currently Senior UX Design Producer at Amazon Auto, but in his free time he volunteers his time to sickle cell projects and events. He also serves as an advisor for Sickle Cell 101. Markus is also fluent in French, German, and Dutch for international collaborations regarding sickle cell.Read more