It all started with a personal experience
It was 2017, Ann Jackson was in Chicago’s Cancer Center receiving chemotherapy when she overheard the patient next to her ask her husband how they were going to navigate the cost of care.
It wasn’t until after her appointment that Ann realized they were talking about lunch — the patient and her husband were at the hospital for a daylong infusion and weren’t sure they could afford to feed themselves during the appointment.
Ann quickly realized this story was a common one for the folks receiving treatment. A few months later, she attended a lecture on hospital-based food insecurity given by University of Chicago faculty member, Dr. Stacy Lindau. Ann partnered with Dr. Lindau and the leadership team of the cancer center to open a Feed1st pantry in the Comprehensive Cancer Center in November of 2017. Over the next few years the work would continue at the cancer center expanding out into programs in spaces where those facing a cancer diagnosis live and seek support.
In 2020, we formally became the Center for Food Equity in Medicine with programs sharing people at their doors, in places where faces facing a cancer diagnosis receive support and treatment. The Center for Food Equity in Medicine is committed to raising awareness and meeting the nutritional needs for people living with chronic health conditions. Interested in learning more? Join us.
Meet the Team
Founder, Executive Director
Dr. Ann W. Jackson, PT, DPT, MPH is a physical therapist, educator, health advocate, citizen scientist, and lifelong learner who has spent her career focusing on the optimization of the functionality of individuals across the lifespan, no matter their circumstances. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Georgia State University, a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina, Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Rosalind Franklin University and a certificate in Clinical Medical Ethics from the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center.
In 2015, while undergoing treatment for a cancer diagnosis, she saw firsthand the difficulties people were experiencing while navigating new spaces and experiences associated with receiving a cancer diagnosis. A desire to make their situations better inspired Ann to find some good in her own experience. It was her call to action. In March of 2020 she became the founder of The Center for Food Equity in Medicine, an organization whose mission is to impact food insecurity among those navigating a cancer diagnosis.
Special Project Manager
Aesha Jackson started volunteering with the Center for Food Equity in Medicine when it was just an idea in her Mom’s heart. She is a graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Currently, Aesha works as an Electrical Engineer in the construction of large buildings. Aesha enjoys problem solving at any scale, loves calling Chicago home and is always willing to make new friends over cupcakes.
She has been volunteering with various organizations as long as she can remember, especially those focussing on social justice and equity issues. The mission of Center for Food Equity in Medicine and hearing directly from the “neighbors” who participate has driven her to know that the work matters.
Program Support Specialist
Jaelyn White started interning with CFFEIM in the Summer of 2023. She is born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She is currently in school at Ball State University for Video Production and Music Recording, so she handles a lot of things virtually for us.
She started working with this non-profit because she has a desire to help people in need. Her grandma is a cancer survivor, which has given her a strong sense of devotion to this organization. She helps create media, works on projects throughout the non-profit, and is looking forward to growing with this organization.
Director of Engagement
Angela Kelly is a speech-language pathologist and Dr Jackson's organizational side-kick in all things Center for Food Equity in Medicine. Although she loves the work she does with her students during the school year, Angela also finds joy in an eclectic mix of craft hobbies and gardening. This enjoyment of gardening has developed into a passion of finding ways to provide healthy foods to those the Center for Food Equity in Medicine serves.
Director of Operations
Graham Ikler is currently a graduate student studying health informatics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At UIC Graham holds two positions as a research assistant and teaching assistant.
At the Center for Food Equity in Medicine he focuses his time on keeping the team on track, maintaining impact reporting, and looking for new ways to make us more efficient. His own cancer journey informs his understanding of the way that proper nutrition can greatly affect the outcomes of life altering health conditions. In his free time Graham is an avid cook but does not dare to enter the baking domain.
Nai Neva Jenkins
Nai Neva Jenkins is our Media Director. She is a photographer, videographer, and social media manager. She holds a degree in Mass Communication Television and a minor in Visual Arts Photography from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Nai Neva has spent most of her career capturing moments in the municipal arena until she decided to pursue her passion for photograph by creating Starson Media.
We welcomed Nai Neva to the Center for Food Equity team in 2021, and she has increased our visibility through social media and YouTube. She has a passion for visual expression and production. She enjoys working with CFFEIM because she shares a desire to make a difference and takes pride in telling the story for our nonprofit work.
Our Board Members
Our wonderful partners
Christen Oliver Foundation
Make a Donation
Your gifts go towards providing nutritionally dense foods to some of the most vulnerable neighbors in our communities. Individuals and families navigating food insecurity while facing life changing health conditions will not have to go hungry because of your generosity.