Dr. Ngozi Ezike
Illinois Department of Public Health
Dr. Ngozi Ezike is the Former Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the first Black woman appointed to lead the 143-year old state agency. In this leadership role, Dr. Ezike has guided the state and its 12.7 million residents through the worst pandemic in its history, while simultaneously working to promote health equity, particularly within communities of need.
A board-certified internist and pediatrician, she previously worked for Cook County Health (CCH), the hospital and healthcare system addressing the needs of the residents of Cook County, for more than 15 years. She also was medical director at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.
Prior to joining CCDPH, Dr. Ezike served as Austin Health Center medical director, where she actively engaged with the community on a variety of health initiatives. She also has delivered inpatient care at Stroger Hospital and primary and preventive care in community and school-based clinics.
Dr. Ezike is a nationally recognized expert in the area of healthcare within the juvenile detention and justice systems. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, she is a Certified Correctional Health Professional and Diplomate of both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. She is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Rush Medical College.
She is the recipient of several honorary doctorates from Southern Illinois University, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and Knox College, and numerous awards including the University of St. Francis’ Sister Clare of Assisi Award, the 2020 Excellence in Public Service Award from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the Lester H. McKeever Individual Service Award from the Chicago Urban League, and the Health Innovator Award from Erie Family Health Center.
An advocate for maintaining work-life balance, particularly in challenging times, Dr. Ezike is an award-winning tennis player, avid reader, and is fluent in Spanish and French.