Dr. Suzet M. McKinney [Bio] – Women Driving Excellence 2015 Honoree


Dr. Suzet M. McKinney currently serves as Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health(CDPH), where she oversees the emergency preparedness efforts for the Department and coordinates 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. She is the Principal Investigator for both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) funded preparedness program grants, as well as various maternal and child health program grants. Dr. McKinney is the former Sr. Advisor for Public Health and Preparedness at the Tauri Group. In this capacity, Dr. McKinney provided strategic and analytical consulting services to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), BioWatch Program, including 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. Prior to this appointment, she served two years as the Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Chicago Department of Public Health, where she spearheaded Chicago’s efforts as the field test site for DHS’s Generation-3 autonomous biological detection system technology.

Dr. McKinney serves on numerous committees and advisory boards. Most recently, she was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Advisory Council (NAC). She is a member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthcare Sector Coordinating Council, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events and the IOM’s Standing Committee on Health Threats Resilience. She serves as an Incident Commander for CDPH and is a member of Chicago’s Incident Management Team. She has been responsible for leading multiple emergency response efforts, including the city’s current Ebola response; the operational response to the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, with the set-up and operation of over 100 mass vaccination clinics, which were 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.

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 also provides support to the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to provide subject matter expertise in biological terrorism preparedness to the country of Poland.

In academia, Dr. McKinney serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She also serves on the faculty of the National Preparedness Leadership Institute — Executive Education Program at Harvard University and as a mentor for the Biomedical Sciences Careers Project, also at Harvard University.

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 Fellow. She received her Master of Public Health degree and certificates in Managed Care and Health Care Administration from Benedictine University in Lisle, IL.


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