The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Donna Thompson

Healthcare executive Donna Thompson was born on January 2, 1957 in Decatur, Illinois. She graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 1975, and received her diploma in nursing from Decatur Memorial School of Nursing in 1977. She worked as a pediatric nurse at Decatur Memorial Hospital until 1980, when she became a neonatal transport nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. Thompson went on to earn her B.S. degree in nursing in 1986 and her M.S. degree in nursing in 1988, both from DePaul University in Chicago. Thompson also completed the Kellogg School of Management's CEO Perspectives program in 2010.

Thompson served as the manager of the pediatric intensive care unit at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital from 1983 to 1991. She was then hired as the director of nursing as Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois. In 1995, Thompson became the chief operating officer of Access Community Health Network (ACCESS) in Chicago, and was promoted to chief executive officer in 2004. Thompson organized the Stand Against Cancer program in 2002, and the Pin-A-Sister/Examínate Comadre program in 2007. Under her leadership, ACCESS became one of the largest federally qualified health centers in the country, as well as the largest provider of Medicaid and Medicare managed primary healthcare in Illinois. Thompson was also a co-founder of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.

Thomas received numerous awards for her work in the healthcare field, including the Nursing Star Award from the Illinois Association of Visiting Nurses in 2003, the Chicago Athena Award from Athena International in 2007, the Outstanding Leadership in Continuous Quality Improvement Award from United Way of Metro Chicago in 2009, and the National Medical Fellowship Leadership in Healthcare Award in 2015. She was also named as “One of Chicago's Most Influential Women” by N’Digo Magazine in 2009. From 2003 to 2006, Thompson served as a Robert Wood Johnson executive nurse fellow. Thompson also served as a board member for Access DuPage, and chaired the board of directors for The Chicago Network. She was also a co-founder of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force.

Thompson and her husband, Robert, have two children.

Donna Thompson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 4, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.091

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/4/2018

Last Name

Thompson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Oakland Elementary School

Stephen Decatur High School

Woodrow Wilson Junior High School

Decatur Memorial Hospital School of Nursing

DePaul University

First Name

Donna

Birth City, State, Country

Decatur

HM ID

THO28

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Stay In The Game.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/2/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Sushi

Short Description

Healthcare executive Donna Thompson (1957 - ) served as the chief executive officer of Access Community Health Network, the largest primary care provider for minority patients in Illinois.

Employment

Decatur Memorial Hospital

St. John's Hospital

Michael Reese Hospital

Christ Hospital

Access Community Health Network

Favorite Color

Pink

Felicia Middlebrooks

Chicago radio journalist Felicia Middlebrooks was born May 29, 1957, in Gary, Indiana, to a teacher and a steelworker. Middlebrooks graduated from Gary's West Side High School in 1975; over the next seven years, she worked as a steelworker to finance her B.A. degree in mass communications at Purdue University, which she earned with honors. While pursuing her degree, Middlebrooks gained radio experience at four separate Northwestern Indiana stations.

Middlebrooks was hired as a full-time employee at WBBM news radio in 1983; for the next eighteen years, she worked as co-anchor of WBBM's Morning Drive, part of a lineup that toppled WGN's thirty-year streak as Chicago's top-rated morning station. The first woman and first African American to co-anchor Morning Drive, Middlebrooks was involved in numerous creative ventures; she served as the CEO of her own company, Saltshaker Productions. As a regular panelist on the Total Living Network's Chicago Newsmakers, Middlebrooks addressed spiritual issues; her written work appeared in a prestigious literary anthology, Souls of My Sisters. Middlebrooks contributed her time and talents serving as a trustee for the Children's Home and Aid Society, and was a member of the board of directors of WINGS, an organization founded to assist victims of domestic violence. Middlebrooks received the Associated Press Best Reporter Award for her insightful series of reports on domestic violence; the African American Leadership Council and the Urban League are among the many other organizations that honored her achievements.

When Middlebrooks left the air following a contract dispute in 2002, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and her fans intervened, and her needs were swiftly met. A longtime mentor to aspiring journalists, Middlebrooks continued working with young people in a teaching position at Purdue University's Calumet campus. In her spare time, Middlebrooks also wrote and published a novel.

Accession Number

A2003.064

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/3/2003

Last Name

Middlebrooks - Hill

Maker Category
Schools

Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School

Ivanhoe Elementary School

Edison Middle School

Purdue University

West Side Leadership Academy

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Felicia

Birth City, State, Country

Gary

HM ID

MID01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

You'll never change that which you can tolerate.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

5/29/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Mexican Food, Popcorn

Short Description

Production company chief executive and radio news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks (1957 - ) is the co-anchor of WBBM's Morning Drive in Chicago.

Employment

WLTH Radio

WBAA Radio

WJOB Radio

WGVE Radio

WBBM TV

Saltshaker Productions

Favorite Color

Charcoal Gray

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Felicia Middlebrooks interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Felicia Middlebrooks's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Felicia Middlebrooks describes her family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Felicia Middlebrooks remembers her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her father's profession, part I

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Felicia Middlebrooks remembers her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls her family's migration North

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Felicia Middlebrooks shares the sights, smells and sounds of her childhood home

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Felicia Middlebrooks describes her childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls her early school years

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her family's involvement in the church

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls her high school years, part I

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her father's other jobs

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls her high school years, part II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls famous African Americans from Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her early interest in radio/television

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Felicia Middlebrooks remembers influential teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Felicia Middlebrooks recalls having to leave college to work in the steel mill

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her early professional radio experience in Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Felicia Middlebrooks describes her first jobs in Chicago, Illinois, at CBS Channel 2 Television

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Felicia Middlebrooks describes getting her first on-air job as a radio reporter in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Felicia Middlebrooks considers her skill set as a journalist

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses the development of her career

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Felicia Middlebrooks describes her award-winning news coverage

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses the undertakings of her production company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her payrate negotiations with WBBM, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Felicia Middlebrooks shares advice for aspiring journalists

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Felicia Middlebrooks discusses her volunteer activities

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Felicia Middlebrooks expresses her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Felicia Middlebrooks considers her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Felicia Middlebrooks shares reflections on her career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Felicia Middlebrooks considers how she'd like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with Bill Cosby after a taping of 'The Cosby Show,' New York, New York, ca. 1990

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's parents, 1994

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with other celebrities before a Starlight Foundation ball, 1993

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's fifth grade school portrait, Ivanhoe Elementary School, Gary, Indiana, ca. 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks in a Purdue University choir, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks in her high school band uniform after a parade, Gary, Indiana, 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's seventh grade school portrait, Thomas A. Edison Middle School, Gary, Indiana, ca. 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks dresses as Wonder Woman for a high school masquerade party, Gary, Indiana, ca. 1971

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her parents upon her high school graduation, Gary, Indiana, 1975

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with his sisters and father at her Miller Beach home, Gary, Indiana, 1998

Tape: 4 Story: 16 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks conducts a radio interview at WLTH-AM, Gary, Indiana, late 1970s

Tape: 4 Story: 17 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks early in her tenure at WBBM-780 AM, Chicago, Illinois, 1982

Tape: 4 Story: 18 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with winemaker, Robert Mondovi, at a wine tasting event

Tape: 4 Story: 19 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks represents WBBM-780AM, Chicago, Illinois, at a March of Dimes fundraiser, 1988

Tape: 4 Story: 20 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks welcomes guests to "Hollywood Comes to Chicago" event, Chicago, Illinois, 2000

Tape: 4 Story: 21 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her cousin and sister outside of her childhood home, Gary, Indiana, ca. 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 22 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and her older sister, Gary, Indiana, 1957

Tape: 4 Story: 23 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with Chicago radio personalities at an awards luncheon, Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 24 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and colleagues represent WBBM AM-780 in a Christmas parade, Chicago, Illinois, 1983, part I

Tape: 4 Story: 25 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks at lunch with her mentor and two reporter colleagues, Indiana

Tape: 4 Story: 26 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and colleagues represent WBBM AM-780 in a Christmas parade, Chicago, Illinois, 1983, part II

Tape: 4 Story: 27 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her former co-anchor in the WBBM AM-780 studio, ca. 1992

Tape: 4 Story: 28 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's mother while pregnant, 1956

Tape: 4 Story: 29 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her sisters on a family outing, early 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 30 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks at her sixth birthday party, Gary, Indiana, 1963, part I

Tape: 4 Story: 31 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and her sister with their Christmas presents, ca. 1963

Tape: 4 Story: 32 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks at her sixth birthday party, Gary, Indiana, 1963, part II

Tape: 4 Story: 33 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks at her twelfth birthday party, Gary, Indiana, 1969

Tape: 4 Story: 34 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks on Memorial Day, Gary, Indiana, 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 35 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks, her sisters and her mother on Easter Sunday, Gary, Indiana, 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 36 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's maternal grandmother and aunt, Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 37 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and Dan Rather in the WBBM AM-780 newsroom, Chicago, Illinois, 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with guest Tony Bennett, WBBM AM-780, Chicago, Illinois, 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's family portrait, Gary, Indiana, early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with Patti Labelle, 2000

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks is awarded the key to the city of Gary, Indiana by Mayor Richard Hatcher at an NAACP dinner, 1989

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's mother presents her husband with a birthday present, late 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her sisters, mother and maternal grandfather, early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and friends at her sixth birthday party, 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her sisters and her paternal grandfather, Bessemer, Alabama, early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's mother with her three daughters in the family home, Gary, Indiana, February 1963

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and her sisters before Sunday School, Gary, Indiana, early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her mother and sisters on the steps of the library in Birmingham, Alabama, early 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks watches her mother barbeque, Gary, Indiana, 1960s

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks with her Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. sisters, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, late 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's high school senior portrait, West Side High School, Gary, Indiana, 1975

Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - A portrait of Felicia Middlebrooks and her sisters, ca. 1980

Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks's youngest sister, 1990s

Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks attends Homecoming at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1978

Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks and other contestants at the Voice of Democracy competition, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 19 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks emcees the Starlight Foundation ball, ca. 1992

Tape: 5 Story: 20 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks on the cover of Chicago, Illinois weekly N'Digo, 2002

Tape: 5 Story: 21 - Photo - Felicia Middlebrooks included in a feature on women in media, ca. 1988