“When I was in college, I worked for a community organization, helping with their food coop and writing health articles for the newsletter. But I saw that the people needed more than food; that's what spurred me on. I love math and my mom told me to go into computers. But that's not what I wanted to do. I was absolutely interested in health and healing, and being an advocate for universal health care. That's why I went on to medical school.”
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
“WORKING FOR HEALTHIER FAMILIES AT HOME AND ABROAD”
A board-certified Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine since 1991, Javette Orgain is known as a passionate advocate for better family health, whether in her native Chicago or in such far away places as South Africa, Laos and Myanmar. In addition to teaching, she also chairs the African-American Health Care Council in Chicago, serves as Co-Chair of the Illinois State Board of Health, and is a Board member of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians.
Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL-2), who nominated her to be a Local Legend, calls Orgain "a truly outstanding family physician who personifies the medical profession as a caring health care provider in her community." He also praises her for "greatly contributing to the image of women in medicine and leading by example in her field."
Among her accomplishments, she served as the 100th President of the National Medical Association (in 2000), the oldest and largest organization representing African American physicians and health professionals in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Established in 1895, it is the collective voice of more than 25,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve. Prior to her presidency, she served two terms as vice president. She currently serves as chair of the NMA House of Delegates Council on International Affairs.
In 1993, as an officer in the association, Orgain, other physician members of NMA and members of the Auxiliary to the NMA spearheaded the Water for Children Africa Project to assist poor, rural African communities to obtain clean water in order to help prevent the waterborne illnesses and diseases which sicken and kill millions of children each year. Orgain continues her association with the program and regularly monitors international health conditions.
She joined the International Center for Health Leadership Development (ICHLD) Health Partners Fellowship in August 1998, becoming one of the first twelve members to be selected for the two-year training program. From 1999 to 2002, she chaired the Urban Health Committee of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians.
She serves on the Advisory Board for the American Cancer Society's "Increasing Outreach and Decreasing Disparities among African Americans Project," and contributes her time and expertise to the UIC College of Nursing Integrated Health Care "Thresholds" project, as well as to the University of Transkei (Umtata, South Africa) Community Based Infrastructure Development Project. She is a member of the Chicago-Durban (South Africa) Sister City Committee and chairs the health sub-committee.
Orgain has received numerous awards and honors, among them the Commendable Service and Meritorious Service Awards of the National Medical Association Family Practice Section. She was honored by Ebony/Johnson Publishing Company in 2001 as an Outstanding Mother in the Field of Health, and was featured in the August 2001 Black Enterprise Magazine as one of America's Leading Black Doctors. The Student National Medical Association, the nation's oldest and largest organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color, named an award after her for academic excellence and mentorship.
Becomes Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Family Practice/Family Medicine