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Suzet M. McKinney, who leads the Illinois Medical District, will deliver our highly anticipated keynote

Suzet McKinney

Nursing in a tumultuous world: How nurses anchor a community in unpredictable times

Suzet M. McKinney, DrPH, MPH
CEO/Executive Director, Illinois Medical District

As CEO and executive director of the Illinois Medical District, Dr. McKinney provides leadership for one of the largest urban medical districts in the country: 560 acres of medical research facilities, universities, labs, a biotech business incubator and more than 40 health care-related facilities.

Under her visionary leadership, the District is an internationally recognized magnet for health care, research, technology commercialization and education.

Dr. McKinney is a sought-after expert on emergency preparedness and has been on the frontlines of major emergency response efforts. She led Chicago’s response to an Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015, headed a campaign to vaccinate nearly 100,000 residents during the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, and participated in the Chicago Department of Public Health’s 2010 Haiti earthquake response.

Dr. McKinney came to the District from the City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health, where she was the deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response. There, she managed emergency preparedness efforts within the larger spectrum of Chicago’s public safety activities. She also oversaw the department’s Division of Women and Children’s Health.

Prior to that, she served as the senior 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 BioWatch Program.

Co-author of the 2018 text, Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Practical Solutions for the Real World, Dr. McKinney serves as an instructor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Division of Policy Translation and Leadership Development. She also serves as a mentor for the Biomedical Sciences Careers Project at Harvard. She is an adjunct assistant professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

Dr. McKinney’s reach spreads deep into the community through her work on numerous boards. She is on the boards of directors for Susan G. Komen Chicago, Thresholds, YWCA of Chicago and the African American Legacy of The Chicago Community Trust.

Her leadership and subject matter expertise have landed her key positions on national advisory committees and boards. She holds memberships on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Board of Scientific Counselors for the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response and on the FEMA National Advisory Council. She also serves on the Science and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In 2017, she completed four years as a public health subject matter expert for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Dr. McKinney is also co-chair of the Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Disasters and Emergencies, an initiative of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Division of Health and Medicine, which convenes public- and private-sector leaders to improve the nation’s preparedness for disasters, public health emergencies and emerging threats.

She holds her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health with a focus on preparedness planning, leadership and workforce development. She received her Master of Public Health degree from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois, as well as certificates in managed care and health care administration. Her bachelor’s degree in biology is from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.