The mayor of Chicago, Lori E. Lightfoot, has appointed Allison Arwady, MD '08, HS '12, MPH, to be the next commissioner of the city's Department of Public Health (CDPH), pending confirmation by the City Council. Arwady has served as acting commissioner since June. Prior to that, she served four years as the department's chief medical officer, where she is credited with having overseen the disease control, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and behavioral health divisions. She has also worked on disease outbreaks, immunization promotion, tuberculosis response, substance misuse and other issues.
In a statement issued by the office of the mayor, Lightfoot says, “Dr. Arwady is a dedicated and innovative leader in public health. As a physician and public servant, Dr. Arwady has served the residents of our city by pushing the health department to be on the forefront of issues ranging from regulating tobacco sales to tackling opioid addition in our neighborhoods. I am looking forward to working closely with her to make Chicago a safer, healthier and more equitable city.”
“I am honored and humbled by this announcement and look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Lightfoot to make our city a healthy place to live, work and play for all Chicagoans,” says Arwady in the same news release. “Promoting health equity drives everything we do at CDPH as we work toward a healthier Chicago.”
Prior to CDPH, Arwady worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an epidemic intelligence service officer. In that role, she focused on outbreak response, including international work on Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. While based at the Illinois Department of Public Health, she responded to disease outbreaks across the state.
Arwady earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her master’s degree in public health from Columbia University. She completed medical school and clinical training at Yale. She is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pediatrician, and continues to see primary care patients weekly as a volunteer at Chicago’s largest free clinic.