Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health who led the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was removed as the city’s chief medical officer on Friday, officials said.
Along with former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Arwadi has been an advocate for the city’s COVID-19 strategy during the pandemic and has become known for holding regular press conferences as well as weekly “Ask Arwadi” live streams on Facebook and Twitter to answer questions about COVID. live in real time.
Earlier this year, after Lightfoot’s reelection defeat, questions were raised about whether Arwadi would remain in Mayor Brandon Johnson’s next administration.
In an interview with NBC 5 health reporter Lauren Petty in mid-April, the CDPH director said she hoped she would continue as head of the department.
“I definitely hope to stay,” he said. “I am truly proud of the work done by the Chicago Department of Health. I really enjoyed my job, even though it was crazy because of COVID-19.”
Questions about Arwadi’s future in the department arose a month earlier during a forum in which Brandon Johnson said he would push for a change in leadership.
“We have different views on public health, so no, she won’t stay in my administration,” he said at a Mayors’ Forum hosted by WBEZ in March.
Johnson, after being elected mayor, softened this stance in the following weeks, including in an interview with WBEZ’s Mariah Welfel.
Initially joining CDPH in 2015 as Medical Director, Arwadi previously worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer and worked on response to international outbreaks such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Ebola. City of Chicago website.
A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, Arwadi received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s degree in public health from Columbia University.
Whether or not he stays in charge of the department, Arwadi said he hopes to stay in Chicago.
“I love Chicago. It’s the longest time I’ve lived in my life and you know I love public health,” he said in March. “Time will tell, but it’s work. It’s a great option for me right now.”