India Willis-Jackson (FNP) is the newest healthcare provider at Howard Brown Health 55th St., and she brings with her a breadth of experience and an energetic outlook that will be central to the clinic’s growth in Hyde Park.
We sat down with India and got to know her better. Here’s a little background on India’s interests, experience, and healthcare philosophy.
Could you share a little bit about your background in medicine?
I am a registered nurse. Upon graduation, I worked as an ER nurse for three years at Advocate Trinity Hospital. During my time there, I acquired a wealth of knowledge and understanding about general health and chronic illness maintenance and sustainability, which inspired me to return to school and enroll in a graduate level Nurse Practitioner program. I graduated with my FNP credentials with a specialization and focus on HIV care.
What are some of your community ties to Hyde Park?
I’m originally from Los Angeles, California and relocated to Chicago at the age of 15. Upon maturation, I developed a sense of connectedness to the community in Hyde Park as I began to build friendships with individuals who inhabited the area and who went to its community high school, Kenwood Academy. Vividly, I remember it being a neighborhood of resourcefulness and robustness, two attributes it has continuously and thrivingly cultivated to this day.
What kind of impact do you hope the clinic in Hyde Park will have on the community?
Well, interestingly, one of my hopes and dreams has come true now that Howard Brown has a presence in the Hyde Park area. My greater hope is that Howard Brown’s resources will be equally impactful to the residents of Hyde Park and surrounding areas as they have been in its other established areas. In the short term, I am working to see a significant decline in the number of individuals without primary care and access to local providers for basic medical care and/or specialty services. Further in the future, I would love to see the collaboration between Howard Brown and University of Chicago continue to grow. I could see it develop into an epicenter of care for individuals that are underserved and uninformed of the benefits of primary care and HIV intervention and prevention.
“A patient-centered approach is rooted in authenticity, empathy, and vulnerability” – India Willis-Jackson, FNP, Howard Brown Health 55th St.
Could you describe your approach to patient-centered care?
I’m guided by the understanding that doing nothing for others is our own undoing and that people not most helpful when they are lightening the burdens of others. Therefore, my primary goal is to work at serving my patients as a prime and best practice. I have adopted a patient-centered approach that is rooted in authenticity, empathy, and vulnerability. Even when I was at the bedside as an ER nurse, I found these three characteristics most effective, at times even more so than my medical training. Moreover, I begin and end with the softness of authenticity, empathy, and vulnerability and it is in the cohesive unity of these virtues that transforms the experience from “patient-to-provider” to “human-to-human.” We laugh, we share, and we enjoy the openness of each visit. I thoroughly educate each patient on their overall health status so we can successfully and medically manage their expectations. I also offer the right dose of levity and humor to my patients. They tend to like that very much.
What is the most exciting part of working at Howard Brown Health 55th St.?
For me, the most exciting part is working with a reputable organization like Howard Brown. It’s an organization I have long admired for its altruism to the communities it serves. I’m also excited about partnering with the University of Chicago, being that it is such a premier and preeminent medical health system. I feel that being a part of the Hyde Park clinic will allow me to further my love and specialty for patient care.