Staff Highlight: Anna Yankelev - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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Staff Highlight: Anna Yankelev

April 4, 2023

Anna Yankelev joined Health & Medicine as Director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives in Jan 2023, motivated by her passion for building a sustainable and equitable public health workforce and determined to form systems and structures to support its development. Anna has been a Chicago resident for seven years, applying her skills in coalition building and strategic planning to support underserved and high-risk communities and develop initiatives that answer their urgent, unmet needs.

Anna started her journey as a youth activist, focusing on community engagement and organizing with others to challenge the status quo and develop creative solutions to systemic problems. Her passion for social justice was furthered while earning her B.S. in Public Health from Brandeis University and her M.P.H. and M.B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Throughout her career, Anna has been a force for change. Prior to her position at Health & Medicine, she supported the Lake County Health Department (LCHD), where she oversaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of the agency’s internal strategic plan and Community Health Improvement Plan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Anna also served as the Chief Community Mitigation Officer for Lake County’s Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) and developed and launched LCHD’s first Community Health Worker program.

“How, where, and why we work impacts our health and wellbeing in a multitude of ways,” Anna shares. “So many of our community members, especially women, people of color, and immigrants, are trapped in low-wage, unbenefited work lacking opportunities for wealth building and career advancement, creating a major barrier to health equity. Assuring that everyone—regardless of their education or background—has access to a quality job in the public health sector will build a stronger, more representative workforce that improves the health of its workers and the communities they serve.”

In addition to her professional role, Anna also served as a facilitator for Radical Public Health at UIC and helped create its flagship course, Epidemics of Injustice.

“I am excited to merge my passions for public health, healthy work, strategic planning, and organizing together in this new role at Health and Medicine,” she says.

In her free time, Anna enjoys exploring new Chicago neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and finding the coolest looking house on the block. She enjoys being surrounded by nature and making new connections as she explores. Some of her favorite activities include getting involved with local progressive campaigns, cooking for her friends, and hanging out with her cat, Ginny.