January 6, 2021
Reflecting on Extraordinary Times and Looking Forward with Extraordinary Hope
CLOCC's 2021 New Year's Message
By Adam Becker, PhD, MPH
Executive Director, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children

As we emerge from a year of unprecedented challenges and look forward to our plans for 2021, we at CLOCC first and foremost offer our sympathy and condolences to those who have lost a loved one during – or because of – the Coronavirus pandemic and have had to cope with that loss without the healing closeness of family and friends. You are in our thoughts.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic first took hold, it seemed that a focus on childhood obesity would be pushed to the margins of our local and national agendas. Yet, as data emerged about the virus, its consequences, and the inequities related to both infection and resulting illness, it became quickly apparent that the obesity epidemic and the global pandemic were intrinsically linked. Obesity is understood to be one of the most, significant risk factors for serious illness or death resulting from COVID-19. What’s more, the same upstream factors that contribute to inequities in obesity prevalence (structural racism, poverty, poor access to health and social services) were clearly also driving inequities in COVID-19 rates. Our concern that COVID-19 mitigation efforts would require that we put CLOCC’s obesity-prevention work on hold soon evolved into an understanding that we had to redouble our efforts. Our network would be called up on to support constituents’ ability to eat healthy and stay active when the economy, the food system, and the institutions that serve children (schools, childcare, parks) were shutting down.

I have been immensely impressed by the resilience demonstrated across our network in 2020. Partners, staff, colleagues, funders and other stakeholders have exhibited boundless flexibility and furious determination in responding to the pandemic. I look forward to the day when, with the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we can reflect upon and celebrate the immeasurable examples of our public health field rising to this inauspicious occasion and adapting to meet the COVID-19 challenges that shook our city, our state, and our nation.

Early in the pandemic, CLOCC staff surveyed the network to develop an understanding of partner needs and concerns as we adjusted to our new realities. Based on that feedback, we added a COVID-19 resources section to our bi-weekly newsletter, followed soon thereafter by “CLOCC – Healthy at Home,” a collection of health and wellness tips based on 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® and promoted via social media and the newsletter. Our Kohl’s Cares®-funded work in and around Chicago Park District summer camps in the city’s south and west sides was expanded to include “Stay Fit Kits” that could be distributed to local families and used to support physical activity and nutrition at home. As Chicago Public Schools continued with remote learning, we took the step of creating “CLOCC – Healthy at Home for CPS” – a comprehensive library of online tools and health resources, cultivated to assist educators with supporting their students’ food and physical activity needs through the pandemic.

It's been a long time since we have gathered in person and we miss our face-to-face interaction with friends and colleagues from across the CLOCC network. We are looking forward to Quarterly Meetings and other convenings that aren't held with little video squares. Until then, we're launching "CLOCC Faces," so that you can be introduced - or reintroduced - to the CLOCC staffers who are your teammates in the fight against childhood obesity, here in Chicago and beyond!
This week's featured CLOCC Face:
Jennifer Norsworthy, MPH, RDN, LDN
Community Food Access Manager
Tell us about your work at CLOCC:
As the Community Food Access Manager, my role supports screening patient families for food insecurity and manages programs that aim to alleviate barriers to food access. By documenting the rate of food insecurity and providing healthy food resources, these programs aim to address the hunger-obesity paradox facing our patient population.

What do you find exciting about this work?
With my background as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), my role at CLOCC provides an opportunity to apply my knowledge of healthcare systems to neighborhood-based initiatives. After working as a clinician treating patients suffering from the ill effects of obesity, it’s empowering to now work on programs that focus on obesity prevention.

What is one thing you wish our partners knew about your efforts? 
Food access and nutrition education involves a wide range of partners. I’m always interested in learning more and finding ways to collaborate on similar efforts happening around our city.

Where can we find you on when you're not working?
As a new dog owner, you’ll find me out walking every day, rain or shine!

How are you staying healthy and positive in the pandemic?  
I’m a planner at heart, so I’ve added a wellness routine to my daily calendar. This helps me maintain a sense of normalcy and ensures that I take the time to fuel my mental and physical health.

Have questions for Jennifer? Reach her at jnorsworthy@luriechildrens.org
CLOCC focuses upstream to identify the fundamental root causes of obesity, and to broaden the scope of our obesity prevention strategies. This work draws from local and national attention to health equity and social influencers of health, such as immigration, education, poverty and racism, all of which have an impact on people's ability to eat healthy and be active where they live, work, learn, and play. If you have comments or questions about this focus, we invite you to reach out to info@clocc.net.
Social Determinants of Health Act
to be Reintroduced in Senate
The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) will stand in support with over 300 organizations nationwide as Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-California) introduces The Improving Social Determinants of Health Act of 2021 to Congress in the new session. A carryover of the Improving SDOH Act of 2020, This legislation empowers public health departments and community organizations to act as chief health strategists in their communities and lead efforts to convene partners across sectors to build integrated systems. This bill is an important step to addressing inequities in health. Visit Trust for America's Health for more information.
As our public health community responds collectively to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, CLOCC will work to provide partners with timely, useful information to help leaders, organizations and families navigate uncharted waters. Suggestions for this newsletter feature can be forwarded to info@clocc.net.
Do you have questions about COVID-19? Lurie Children's COVID-19 Call Center is now OPEN. You can call (312) 227-5300 and speak with a Lurie Children's nurse with questions related to testing criteria, symptoms, donations, or general information. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sunday.

Additionally, if you would like to contact a social worker, psychologist or child life specialist for information on community referrals or coping resources, you can call (312) 227-4118 and leave a message. Your call will be returned within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.
NEW! PPE Resource Distribution Opportunity

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has procured various types of personal protective equipment (PPE) for IDHS providers throughout the State to supplement the PPE provider organizations are able to procure on their own. This distribution is only available for health and human service providers who receive funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services. This survey is designed to provide IDHS an overview of the services provided by your organization along with an estimate of the needed PPE. Learn more here. Deadline is January 20, 2021.

NEW! A virtual townhall this Thursday, January 7, will feature leading Black health, faith, and social organizations looking to address questions and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines, and protecting Black communities. 6:00 - 7:30 PM CT. Download the flyer or tune in at http://Youtube.com/BlackDoctorOrg.



  • Food Systems Leadership Network COVID-19 Response Group: The Food Systems Leadership Network COVID-19 Response Group listserv, unique among the many opportunities food systems leaders have to connect and share information and resources, is focused specifically on identifying, amplifying, and replicating the solutions, innovations, and collaborations that are emerging in communities across the US in response to and in the wake of COVID-19.


  • CLOCC has introduced "CLOCC Healthy at Home for Chicago Public Schools," a free, comprehensive collection of resources to assist teachers, staff and Healthy CPS partners provide kids and families with knowledge and resources to assist with schooling at home during the pandemic.

  • Common Threads is offering our Small Bites Nutrition Education program for FREE to Elementary Students in an On-Demand format. Learners can explore nutrition topics through nine interactive lessons hosted on the educational platform Nearpod. Each lesson will feature engaging activities, snack making videos, and more. Click here.

  • Action for Healthy Kids created and collected resources to help families, educators and school staff keep kids active and stay healthy while navigating a new school year amid uncertainty. Resources will be added continually.

  • The Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition has amassed a comprehensive list of digital education resources, organized by subject and supplemented with links to digital support services. While CCLC focuses on adult education, many resources listed are applicable to families and head-of-households.

  • Pilot Light’s Family Resources are designed for parents and children to provide a time of learning and deeper connection through the act of sharing and making food. This library of resources will continue to grow and include Family Lessons in both English and Spanish, Family Meal Videos, recipes, and more as a way to bring food education into homes.


  • Per Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), COVID-19 Isolation Facilities are being offered free of charge to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to safely isolate in their own homes or congregate living facilities. View information here (.PDF).

  • ChangeLab Solutions is maintaining a library of COVID-19 resource material that includes sections on legal preparedness, food security, housing, violence prevention and more.

  • Access Living has COVID-19 resources for the disability community, with information tailored to additional audiences including those caring for elders, the LGBTQ community, sex workers and people with high-risk comorbidities. This page will be updated routinely during the crisis.

  • The Chicago Region Food System Fund, a COVID-19 response and resilience fund, is accepting applications for funding focused on food system resilience. The Fund responds to hunger and business disruption by bolstering the region’s communities and local food system to withstand COVID-19. The new application is designed with questions to help the Fund better understand your work and how your work contributes to a resilient local food system. The online application must be submitted by January 13, 11:59 p.m. CT. You can learn more about the fund, eligibility, and how to apply at chicagoregionfoodfund.org
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Go!
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