Born and raised in Cincinnati, OH, De’Sean studied anthropology and global health studies at Northwestern University. He wrote his senior thesis on how trauma-informed care can be implemented to address the impact of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness among low-income Black beneficiaries at Heartland Alliance. At Northwestern, De’Sean worked to empower the community of Evanston and Skokie to improve their health and wellbeing through asset-based community development as a part of Northwestern University Community Health Corps. As President of MIXED, he worked to create a space for multiracial students and developed social justice programming.
Field placement: Jersey City Department of Health & Human Services
Jersey City, New Jersey
De’Sean was placed with the Food & Nutrition Division at the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services. While there, De’Sean worked to increase the healthy food access in underserved communities through the launching of two healthy corner stores. He presented his corner store program design at the Jersey City Healthy Food Access Symposium and created a healthy corner store toolkit aimed at helping the Department of Health and Human Services further their healthy food access efforts.
Policy placement: Prosperity Now
At Prosperity Now, De’Sean researched best practices in mortgage servicing and foreclosure prevention. He analyzed the impacts of the potential regulatory changes to the Affordable Home Program for the writing of a comment letter. Additionally, De’Sean supported the planning of the 2018 I’M HOME Conference and Affordable Homeownership Month.
Hunger Free Community Report
"Jersey City Healthy Corner Store Toolkit" is a resource intended to assist the Department of Health and Human Services to effectively expand healthy food access through healthy corner store development. The toolkit includes a survey of the food landscape as well as information about healthy corner store implementation and how to engage with corner store owners.