Dr. Suzet M. McKinney currently serves as CEO/Executive Director of the Illinois Medical District. The Illinois Medical District (IMD), a 24/7/365 environment that includes 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, universities, raw land development areas, four hospitals and more than 40 healthcare related facilities, is one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States. Dr. McKinney is the former Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), where she oversaw the emergency preparedness efforts for the Department and coordinated those efforts within the larger spectrum of the City of Chicago’s Public Safety activities, in addition to overseeing the Department’s Division of Women and Children’s Health.
Dr. McKinney previously served as the Sr. Advisor for Public Health and Preparedness at the Tauri Group, where she provided strategic and analytical consulting services to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS), BioWatch Program. Her work at DHS included providing creative, responsive and operationally-based problem-solving for public health, emergency management and homeland security issues, specifically chemical and biological early detection systems and the implementation of those systems at the state and local levels.
Dr. McKinney serves on numerous boards, committees and advisory boards. Current board memberships include the Board of Directors for Lurie Children’s Hospital, Susan G. Komen Chicago, Thresholds, and the Fifth Third Bank Advisory Board. Dr. McKinney is Co-Chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), Health and Medicine Division’s Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies and is a member of the NASEM Board on Health Sciences Policy. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and is Chairperson of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. She has served as an Incident Commander for CDPH where she was responsible for leading multiple emergency response efforts, including Chicago’s 2014-2015 Ebola response; the operational response to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, which was successful in vaccinating nearly 100,000 residents over a six week timeframe; as well as CDPH’s participation in the 2012 NATO Summit response and the 2010 Haiti Earthquake response. She is a member of The Chicago Network and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Dr. McKinney has earned a reputation as an experienced, knowledgeable public health official with exceptional communication skills. She has served as an on-camera media expert on emergency issues including biological and chemical threats, natural disasters, pandemic influenza, and climate-related emergencies. A sought-after expert in her field, she has also provided support to the U.S. Department of Defense’s, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, lending subject matter expertise in biological terrorism preparedness to the country of Poland.
In academia, Dr. McKinney serves as an Instructor in the Division of Translational Policy and Leadership Development at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. Additionally, she serves as a mentor for the Biomedical Sciences Careers Project, also at Harvard University. She is the co-author of the text: Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Practical Solutions for the Real World (2018), and was named one of Chicago’s Notable Women in Healthcare (2018 & 2019).
Dr. McKinney holds her Doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, with a focus on preparedness planning, leadership and workforce development. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Brandeis University (Waltham, MA) where she was also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellow. She received her Master of Public Health degree (Health Care Administration) and certificates in Managed Care and Health Care Administration from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.