The Chicago Public Health Department is moving forward under interim leadership after the highly publicized dismissal of Dr. Alison Arwadi.
After Alwadi’s dismissal, the agency was succeeded by Fikirte Wagau, an acting commissioner with more than 20 years of experience in the field of rural public health.
According to the city’s website, Mr. Wagau earned a master’s degree in health policy and administration from UIC and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
She was also the CDPH’s First Vice-Chair before Alwadi’s dismissal.
According to the city, she “directed and supported the department’s focus on race and health equity, while overseeing and coordinating cross-departmental functions and efforts.”
She has also worked as a community planner, epidemiologist and public health administrator for CDPH, according to the city.
Mayor Brandon Johnson has yet to reveal who will lead the department permanently.
Alwadi, who had been with the CDPH since 2015, was dismissed earlier this month. She was appointed commissioner shortly before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and she spearheaded efforts to combat the virus in the city.
Last week, she told NBC Chicago about the qualifications required for the position.
“What worries me more is making sure that anyone leaving this health department has real public health knowledge,” she said. “And I know that’s what I’m actually interested in and what the mayor said he was interested in. And I’m looking forward to seeing who gets nominated. But it needs to be someone who understands public health and the work of protecting cities, not just mental health, not just COVID-19, but the amazing range of things health departments are working on. . ”