Rev. Dr. Darryl T. Jenkins, Faith Community Church, Pastor, DLJ Consulting Group, LLC, CEO, Interfaith Mental Health Coalition, President

Where are you from?

I am from Rosemoor on Chicago’s south side, where Chicago bungalow-style homes remain commonplace in the historic George Pullman district. Also known as the Hundreds, my neighborhood’s boundaries extend north to south from 100th Street to 107th Street and east to west from Michigan Avenue to Cottage Grove Avenue. In 1969, my parents proudly became homeowners after the Fair Housing Act, signed on April 11, 1968, prohibited housing discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin. This is the community and neighborhood where I developed a multicultural perspective for community leadership and engagement to address health equity.

How did your interest in Health Equity begin?  

I became interested in health equity after hearing the cries of pain from individuals and families within the congregation and community, who often seek the help of clergy to address mental health, violence, financial deprivation, food deserts, housing, homelessness, and other social determinants of health. I set out to find ways to close the gap through collaborations with health systems to bring awareness and research within communities of faith and the wider community.

What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the CSAC?

I am hopeful that together we will continue to promote and develop health outcomes among the area’s most vulnerable residents, and provide a bi-directional partnership to generate ideas for community health improvements and positive life changing impact.

What are some issues in your community you hope to resolve?

I am interested in helping to expand our work to include the northwest suburbs, including DuPage, Will, Kendall, and Kane counties, to improve health and reduce health disparities through collaboration and community engagement. I would like to address the social determinants of health by focusing on mobility, mental health, obesity, food insecurity, mixed connective tissue disease, Lupus, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. My goal is to continue to recruit and engage communities of faith for partnership and research to solve issues of chronic diseases and develop infrastructure across Wheaton, Joliet, and the Aurora-Fox Valley corridor.

Which other research projects are you involved in currently?

I am currently working with Dr. Abel Kho at Northwestern Medicine as Co-Principal Investigator as part of Reducing ESsential hyPertension by Engaging Communities and paTients (RESPECT) to address disparities in Hypertension Management & Control, Community Engagement National Workgroup (CEWG), Chicago Chronic Condition Equity Network (C3EN) and the Alive Faith Network (AFN)’s Keep In Movin’ (KIM) project, with a research interest in improving mobility and reduce health disparities.

Do you have any fun facts?

I enjoy golfing, fishing, traveling, and spending time listening to smooth jazz. I am also inspired when touring culture and art exhibits and museums.