From Texas to Kenya, a Physician Focuses on Providing Medical Care to Under-Served Communities
Whether treating patients at San Jose’ Clinic (SJC) in Houston, Texas or providing clean water to families in Kenya, 2005 Ross University School of Medicine alumna Sherri Onyiego, MD, PhD, is committed to helping those with limited resources lead a healthier lifestyle.
As SJC’s medical director, Dr. Onyiego often cares for patients who are uninsured and below the federal poverty threshold. Many of her patients suffer from chronic lifestyle diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and hyperlipidemia.
“I am passionate about supporting the clinic’s mission to provide a ‘health home’ to those in the community who need it the most, in an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect,” she said.
Dr. Onyiego also cares for patients and serves as a preceptor to medical students and residents at the Thomas Street Health Center (TSHC) in Houston. Part of the Harris Health System, the TSHC is one of the nation’s first free-standing comprehensive HIV/AIDS clinics. Dr. Onyiego was drawn there by its focus on screening for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C in at-risk populations.
Her reach extends abroad as well. She and her husband, Leonid, established MAJI 4 Life, a nonprofit organization which provides clean water to resource-limited areas in Kenya. (“Maji” is the word for water in Swahili).
“Millions of Kenyans lack access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation,” said Dr. Onyiego. “The effects are devastating, leading to infant mortality and the increase in infections.”
MAJI 4 Life, started in 2012, recently completed the first phase of water procurement projects that have been able to serve at least 1,000 people in remote villages of southwestern Kenya.
Dr. Onyiego is an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She earned a doctorate in pharmacology from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN with a research focus on new drugs with action on stopping HIV-1 viral replication. She completed her residency training in Family Medicine at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and later completed a fellowship in HIV medicine at the University of Texas at Houston.