Born in Malawi, Josephine Underwood possesses a deep understanding of how the lack of proper access to quality health care impacts every sphere of a person's life. With a degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois in Champaign, she initially worked in direct services, getting to know Illinois’ adoption, mental health, and education systems. While working in mental health services, she had clients who could not access what they needed for reasons that did not seem fair, just, or logical. This perpetuated a passion to change unjust and unfair systems.
Josephine has worked throughout Illinois, collaborating with various organizations, including the NAACP, Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, and Progressive Action for the Common Good- Quad Cities Health Care Task Force, and Faithful Reform, to educate consumers on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the necessity for health care justice. Her work goes beyond educating, as she believes it is imperative to engage and empower people, resulting in actions that will progress social justice. Josephine has collaborated with community activists and organizations to host forums, leadership trainings, develop effective outreach material, and rally people to meet with their legislators to advocate for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Her life experiences with injustice, poverty, and unequal access to health care resources continue to shape her work and make her a passionate, driven advocate for justice. Josephine has ten years of experience in advocacy, issues campaign and program development, capacity building, community organizing, and civic engagement. Josephine is currently an independent strategist and community organizer, specializing in working with individuals and organizations to find collaborative, creative solutions designed to identify and address social justice issues of public concern. She is also the founder of the Juliana Timm Children’s Fund, working to impact issues concerning vulnerable and orphan populations in Malawi.