Pritzker appoints Dr. Sameer Vohra to lead IDPH


Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) appointed Dr. Sameer Vohra to lead the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Tuesday, July 12. He starts on Aug. 1.

Vohra follows Dr. Ngozi Ezike, stepped down in March.

Vohra is a general pediatrician who holds degrees in law and public policy. He has worked in state and national health policy formulation, and his recent focus has been on improving health outcomes in Central and Southern Illinois. An associate professor of pediatrics, public health, medical humanities, and law at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s (SIU-SOM), he currently serves the State of Illinois as the Interim Chair of the Children’s Mental Health Partnership.

He completed a residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago and earned a Master of Arts in public policy from the University of Chicago. He holds a medical doctorate from SIU-SOM; a juris doctorate from SIU School of Law; and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and science in human culture from Northwestern University.

“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.”

Vohra also serves on IDPH’s Illinois State Board of Health, the Illinois Medicaid Advisory Committee, the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, and recently completed a term on the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund Steering Committee. He has previously served on national committees for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Medical Association, and on the Board of Trustees for the Illinois State Medical Society and Chicago Medical Society.

Since Ezike’s departure, IDPH has been led on an interim basis by Amaal Tokars, PhD., the department’s Assistant Director.