Nov 13, 2023 - Health

Chicago names Olusimbo "Simbo" Ige new health commissioner

A headshot of Olusimbo "Simbo" Ige, who smiles while wearing a gray blazer.

Photo: Mike Ige, courtesy of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Chicago has named a health commissioner after three months without a permanent leader.

Driving the news: Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Monday that Olusimbo "Simbo" Ige will lead Chicago's Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Why it matters: The department oversees the city's emergency preparedness, immunizations, mental and behavioral health, health equity and food safety inspections.

Context: CDPH has been without a permanent leader since August, when Johnson abruptly fired then-commissioner Allison Arwady — a promise he made on the campaign trail.

Zoom in: Ige comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where she focused on making public health and health care systems more equitable.

  • Before that, she was assistant commissioner for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which included overseeing food security programs and violence prevention.

Of note: Ige was selected by a panel of public health experts, including David Ansell, head of of health equity at Rush, and Ngozi Ezike, who led the Illinois Department of Public Health during the pandemic.

What they're saying: "I am confident that we can improve the health outcomes for all Chicagoans. I have spent my entire career in the public health field, and I look forward to bringing all that I have learned to CDPH," Ige said in a statement.


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