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Moving on, but not leaving behind: My reflections on my time at Health & Medicine

Janna Simon
March 28, 2013
As I reflect on my time as the Senior Policy Analyst and Schweitzer Program Associate at Health & Medicine, I am inspired by the hundreds of friends and colleagues I have met who tirelessly fight for justice and equity. One cannot do this work for years without the support of like-minded people joining you in the journey.  I am thankful for the network of advocates I have become part of and for the chance to get to know so many organizations across this city and state.

For me, Health & Medicine will always be the place where I developed my skills in policy and advocacy, and fostered by passion for justice and equity.  From working with safety net providers, researchers, and systems leaders developing recommendations for the region’s health system, to participating in grassroots coalitions on charity care, Health & Medicine supported my growth, calmed my concerns, and inspired me to continue to fight for what’s right. As I move forward in my career, elements of Health & Medicine will always remain, and I will never forget the lens by which we view the world.  It is forever engrained in me.

Of course, I have to give special thanks to my coworkers and Board members, especially our Director, Margie Schaps, and Chairman, Dr. Quentin Young. Quentin is the soul of this organization and Margie the heart.  I am inspired daily by Quentin, continuing to serve in his retirement because he can’t imagine doing anything else. Hearing him speak about his time as a civil rights doctor and how he was fired twice at Cook County for standing up for what’s right, his legacy will follow me throughout my life.  I strive to achieve half of what he’s accomplished for world justice, and am glad I can call him my friend.  Margie has been a personal and professional mentor for me, teaching me how to navigate the politics of policy and remain on course for equity. She officiated at my wedding and provided countless hours of support. While I may be leaving Health & Medicine, I know I’m not saying goodbye to my friends.

It is with bittersweet sentiment that I leave Health & Medicine, following my passion for obesity prevention and promotion of physical activity and nutrition.  Health & Medicine has set the foundational framework through which I see the world, and will never be forgotten.  To all of my colleagues, thank you.  I look forward to continuing to work toward justice.