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The Institute of Medicine of Chicago is an independent organization of distinguished leaders in the health field who collaborate to improve the health of the public. Drawing upon the expertise of a diverse membership and other regional leaders, the IOMC addresses critical health issues through a range of interdisciplinary approaches including education, research, communication of trusted information, and community engagement.

With the health of the public at its core, IOMC is building new programs and services to better meet the needs of its members and the Chicagoland community, counties and the State of Illinois. 

2021 — From the president's Desk — Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker

Letter from the IOMC President  Cheryl Rucker- Whitaker 


June 2021

Dear Fellows and Colleagues, 

It has been a fast-moving, challenging year with the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently preparing for the Annual Meeting. It was an ambitious year, successful, and pleased the past year was productive as well. We are excited to share the announcement of Dr. Mark Shields, MD as the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. In addition, we honored nine outstanding leaders with the 2021 Special IOMC Award in Public Service this year.

IOMC honored the State of Illinois, City of Chicago Commissioner of Public Health, and the Public Health Directors from Cook County and collar counties at its annual meeting, they are:

  • Ngozi Ezike, MD, MPH, Public Health Director, State of Illinois
  • Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, Commissioner, Public Health, City of Chicago
  • Karen Ayala, MPH, Executive Director, DuPage County Health Department
  • Barbara Jeffers, MPH, Executive Director, Retired, Kane County Health Department
  • Melissa Adamson, MPH, Public Health Administrator, McHenry County Department of Health
  • Mark Pfister, MSES, DrPhc, Executive Director, Lake County Health Department, and Community Health Center
  • Susan Olenek, MAOL, Executive Director, Will County Health Department
  • Kiran Joshi, MD, MPH, Senior Medical Officer, and Co-Leader, Cook County Department of Public Health 
  • Rachel Rubin, MD, MPH, FACP, Co-Leader & Senior Medical Health Public Officer, Cook County Department of Public Health  Visit the IOMC Awards page here.

Words cannot express our thanks for their commitment and expertise during the past year with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Your new Board of Governors are eager to begin working on initiatives for the coming year. We are thankful for the past year’s Board of Governors and their efforts.

The Institute of Medicine of Chicago completed many goals since June 2020; they are:

  • Updated financial and operations to more current practices with the Hektoen Institute and Golden Square. 
  • Launched the State of Health of Chicago in September 2020 with sessions through December 2021. 
  • Conducted 15 virtual sessions involving over 35 speakers to date, and over 900 people have attended these convenings.  
  • Planned four sessions for September through December 2021. At that time, we will summarize our efforts and identify a plan for going forward. The current term is to 'disrupt disparities,' however, we want to do more. 
  • Created an online video library with over 15 videos to deliver relevant information from numerous points of authority who have shared their ideas with us. It is convenient and available 24/7, so you can obtain the information and experience this thought leadership with the utmost convenience. 
  • Accredited sessions with Continuing Medical Education credits to bring more value and set a rigorous standard in programming for our accountability.  
  • Published quarterly e-newsletter and offered content that is relevant to you. We will continue to push boundaries, and more progress is needed, and there is a sincere desire to do so. We want IOMC to continue to develop a scholarly focus on making a difference and positive impact in public health, healthcare, and population health. 
  • Expanded engagement with counties and the State of Illinois, and you will hear more about these ideas over the next year. The counties were involved speakers over the past months. 
  • Completing the research on the Wellbeing Trust Grant research started in 2019. 
  • Advanced our social media communications and its growing. 
  • Expect more news on these issues in the coming months and as we complete the 8th Convening of the State of Health of Chicago in the remaining months of 2021. We will close 2021 with a report on the State of Health of Chicago and follow-up actions. 
  • Also, we are planning the 2022 monthly sessions with our Program Committee this summer. We are committed to advancing IOMC and continuing its success. 

Please plan to join us on September 8th for the virtual session on the soon to be released book Unequal Cities: Structural Racism and the Death Gap in America's Largest Cities by Fernando DeMaio, PhD, American Medical Association, and Maureen Benjamins, PhD, Sinai Urban Health Institute discussing their research and insights. 

Please feel free to contact me at iomcstaff@iomc.org with your thoughts and ideas. 

Enjoy the summer~ 


Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker, MD, MPH, FACP

President and Chair of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago



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                                                                                             IOMC is a 501c3 Nonprofit organization.  Tax ID 36-2217993.  

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