February 12, 2021
Honoring Dr. Ngozi Ezike and Dr. Allison Arwady
On Wednesday, February 10, 2021 the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Civic Federation honored the outstanding public service contributions of Dr. Ngozi Ezike and Dr. Allison Arwady. Dr. Ezike serves as the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. Dr. Arwady serves as the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The Excellence in Public Service award annually recognizes a non-elected state or local government official who has had a positive impact on the quality of government services through extraordinary leadership, teamwork and innovation. For only the second time in 29 years, the independent advisory committee unanimously agreed to honor two equally deserving public servants.
As detailed throughout the program, both Dr. Ezike and Dr. Arwady have extensive backgrounds in public health.
Before her appointment as Director of IDPH in January 2019, Dr. Ezike previously worked at Cook County Health for 15 years, serving in several roles and garnering the experience and skills that are vital to battling the ongoing COVID pandemic. Those roles included Director of the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, Medical Director of the Austin Health Center and providing inpatient care at Stroger Hospital.
Dr. Allison Arwady joined at CDPH in 2015, serving as Chief Medical Officer and Acting Commissioner before being confirmed as Commissioner in January 2020. She previously worked for the Illinois Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she was an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer working on disease outbreak response.
Presenting the awards this year was Cynthia Yazdi, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions. She joined the program on location at a museum exhibit that celebrates the contributions of women in medicine, which she noted was the perfect setting for the recipients. In addition to presenting the awards, Ms. Yazdi discussed the importance of public health leaders and frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. She thanked Drs. Ezike and Arwady, along with their respective teams, for their leadership during these unprecedented times.
The award presentation included special tributes from other government and healthcare leaders such as members of the Chicago Board of Health, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. In accepting the awards, both Dr. Ezike and Dr. Arwady spoke about their passion for public health and what made them enter the field of medicine
The final part of the event included a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Julie Morita, Executive Vice President of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. Dr. Morita asked Drs. Ezike and Arwady about the ongoing COVID pandemic, their roles in combating the spread of the virus, past experiences and what they expect to see in the future. To hear their responses to these questions, and more, watch the full program below.