Meeta Jain Patel, MD

Director of Community Organizing

Dr. Meeta Jain Patel’s summer trips to India were punctuated by extreme temperatures, monsoon rains, daily power outages, and inequitable access to clean drinking water.  These experiences brought into sharp focus the effect of climate on health at an early age. An interest in the sciences later led to a career in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.  Dr. Patel's clinical practice focuses on treating patients with functional impairments due to medical conditions. These patients are often from the most disadvantaged communities and endure the strongest impacts of climate change.

Observing human suffering due to climate change motivated Dr. Patel to pursue environmental advocacy with organizations focused on clean air and clean water initiatives. In 2021, Dr. Patel joined the Illinois nonprofit Nordson Green Earth Foundation (NGEF) as its Director for Community Outreach.  NGEF is committed to working in partnership with historically marginalized urban communities in Chicago to increase tree canopy to combat the effects of climate change.

A passionate supporter of high-quality public education and extra-curricular activities for her community’s youth, Dr. Patel was elected to her local school district’s Board of Education in 2017, where she held numerous leadership positions. She has also worked with Destination Imagination elementary school teams to compete international STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) competitions. 

Dr. Patel earned her Bachelor of Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed medical school at Southern Illinois University-School of Medicine.  She went on to complete residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab/Northwestern University, formerly known as the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  Since completing residency in 2004, Dr. Patel has been in private practice in the Chicagoland area.  In 2017, she joined Anthem, Inc. as a Medical Director in the Medicare/Government Business Division.  In her free time, you can find Dr. Patel outside tending to her garden or hiking/skiing with her two daughters and husband.