Chicago's Top Doctor Hopes to Stay at Helm in Brandon Johnson's Administration

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Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has indicated that he would at least be open to a change of leadership at the Chicago Department of Public Health, but the city’s top doctor is hopeful that she can stay on in her position.

In an interview with NBC 5 health reporter Lauren Petty, Arwady said that she is “hopeful” to continue on in the role that had her spearhead the city’s efforts at combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I definitely hope to stay,” she said. “I’m really proud of the work that the Chicago Department of Public Health has done. I’ve really enjoyed my job, even with how crazy it’s been with COVID.”

Questions about Arwady’s future in the department arose last month during a forum where Johnson indicated that he would seek a leadership change.

 “We have different views of public health, so no, she will not stay on in my administration,” he said during a mayoral forum hosted by WBEZ.  

The mayor-elect has softened that stance in recent weeks, including in an interview with WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.

“I’m looking forward to sitting down with Dr. Arwady,” she said. “We went through a 100-year pandemic, (so) it’s going to be important to have her expertise.”

Arwady said she too is looking forward to discussing the department’s goals, and her possible future, with Johnson.

“I want to have a really open, honest conversation. I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “I do think the values that were laid out in his campaign are the values of the Chicago Department of Public Health, and they are mine.”

Arwady says she would hope to stay in Chicago regardless of whether she remains at the helm of the department.

“I love Chicago. This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere in my life, and you know, I love public health,” she said. “Time will tell, but this is the job. This is a great fit for me right now.”

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