Cherissa Jackson’s current title may be AMVETS Chief Medical Executive, but she is so much more than that.
As a 23-year Air Force veteran, Jackson has endured it all, from three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan to learning how to cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She wound up using her coping and compartmentalization mechanisms with PTSD for good, as she has actually become a motivational speaker on this very topic.
“As a combat clinician, Cherissa has seen the shock, confusion, pain and sadness that can set in for service members during and post combat,” representatives from AMVETS said. “She is considered an expert in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms recognition and counseling. She is the author of ‘At Peace Not in Pieces,’ a bestselling memoir that outlines her principles of coping with her own PTSD challenges as a combat veteran and nurse.”
Jackson spent 10 of her active years as a US Air Force Nurse, where she distinctly remembers the smell of charred bodies as she re-bandaged charred bodies and watched amputees enter her premises every day. She is an Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom veteran, and she suffered a near-death experience in her last deployment to Afghanistan, which sparked her increased anxiety and PTSD when she returned.
Yet, through the hardships of it all, she has used what she has endured for good, helping out other veterans who have suffered from the struggles of being on the battlefield.
“She was also named one of ‘25 Individuals of Influence’ in the June 2018 issue of PTSD magazine and recently joined the HillVets 100 list of top influencers of 2018,” AMVETS representatives added. “Cherissa also won the ‘Daily Record Top 100 Maryland Women for 2016’ for her efforts with PTSD.”
Jackson’s efforts do not stop there, however, as she is someone who makes an impact in so many other ways as well. While her PTSD motivational speeches are what she is well-known for, she is also an advocate for those who are less fortunate, especially those in second and third world countries.
“Cherissa’s interest in Women’s Health was sparked while on a mission as a ‘Hall of Famer’ with SHEROES United to Rome, Italy, in November 2016,” AMVETS representatives said. “On this mission, she coordinated collaboration with the Vatican, the Nation of Congo and the city of Amatrice, Italy, to help those affected by PTSD. Now Cherissa is on a mission to save the lives of Ugandan women affected by cervical cancer – the leading cause of cancer-related death among women in Uganda between the ages of 15 and 44 years – through Project Give Hope.”
Through this project, Jackson went on a humanitarian medical mission back in 2017, providing supplies to over 600 children, 1,250 pounds of shoes, over 400 pounds of rice, over 400 pounds of sugar and over 40 cases of soap to villagers.
She wanted to make an impact through this mission, but more than that, this mission made an impact on her. She did not stop at one mission, as she has made it a point to continue these efforts and collaborate with organizations to work on improving healthcare in Uganda.
There is no question that, when Jackson sees someone in need, she is going to be there for them. She is an advocate for creating a better life for all those around her, and she is always making sure she looks after her own people as well.
“Cherissa heads AMVETS’ National H.E.A.L. program, which, since 2018, ensures the needs of ALL Veterans are met, including access to the best quality healthcare – mental health and specialized services – and to help them live longer and healthier lives,” AMVETS representatives said. “These services are free, and since the creation of the program, AMVETS has recorded more than 600 ‘saves,’ getting veterans critical access to quality healthcare in our emergency services while in crisis.”
It is amazing to see the efforts of Jackson making a difference in the lives of fellow veterans day in and day out. They know Jackson is a one-of-a-kind individual who has nothing but selfless ambitions.
From the moment she stepped foot into the AMVETS organization, Jackson has made a difference, and that is what it is all about. AMVETS saw something special in her, and that is why they made her a CME.
From her efforts in PTSD advocacy to her efforts as a SHERO, Jackson is a special person who is appreciated for all she does and all she will continue to do, and someone like this should never be taken for granted.
“Cherissa has brought so much to this organization. She is spearheading our efforts on exploring alternative treatments for PTSD and other mental healthcare concerns, she is connecting veterans with much needed resources and she serves as an excellent representative of AMVETS. Her management of our H.E.A.L. program is outstanding. Cherissa is well deserving of the Veteran of the Month honor.” – Greg Heun, AMVETS National Commander
“Captain Jackson is a visionary with an ambitious mind and giving heart. Whether she was saving the lives of troops in Iraq or confronting cervical cancer for women in Uganda, she sought to make a difference at a global level. It was a privilege to serve with her as we partnered to confront veteran suicide and elevate the voices of women veterans. I am so proud of her work, as she continues to demonstrate boundless energy in the effort to help veterans heal.” – Sherman Gillums, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer
“Cherissa’s attitude toward serving her fellow veterans is infectious. We couldn’t be happier to have her as part of the AMVETS team and we are blown away by what she brings to the table.” – Joe Chenelly, AMVETS National Executive Director