Dr. Sameer Vohra, the new leader of the Illinois Department of Public Health, was introduced publicly by Gov. J.B. Pritzker Thursday.
Vohra, a pediatrician and healthcare policy expert who holds degrees in both law and public policy, officially took over the role, which was formerly held by Dr. Ngozi Ezike, on Aug. 1.
“I am humbled that the governor has entrusted me to serve the people of our state as the 20th director of the Illinois Department of Public Health,” Vohra said in a statement. “Governor Pritzker, along with the dedicated staff of IDPH, have served our state admirably during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am honored to lead this agency into the future, continuing to keep us safe from emerging illnesses, supporting our public health workers, and promoting wellness in every community across Illinois.”
Ezike, who led the IDPH during the COVID pandemic, stepped down from her role earlier this year to take over as the CEO of Sinai Chicago.
Pritzker has praised Vohra as a “visionary leader” that will use his expertise in health care policy to serve the state of Illinois.
“Dr. Vohra is accomplished in every sense of the word,” Pritzker said. “His experience and education transcend sectors and fields, bringing a well-rounded perspective to this agency. As a leader in state and national health policy, I have absolute confidence in Dr. Vohra’s ability to continue shaping a stronger IDPH for the 21st Century.”
Vohra comes to IDPH from Southern Illinois University, where he served as the School of Medicine’s department chair. He received a masters degree from the University of Chicago in public policy, and received his medical doctorate at SIU. He also received a law degree after graduating from SIU’s law school.