December 8, 2022
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy – featuring Dr. Allison Arwady, Dr. Colleen Cicchetti and Senator Mike Simmons – Dr. Vivek Murthy joins Chicago youth, clinicians, and local leaders to dive into the state of youth mental health, innovative approaches to supporting wellness and the importance of eliminating stigma.
Dr. Vivek Murthy
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2021 to serve as the Surgeon General of the United States. He previously served as the 19th Surgeon General under President Obama. As the Nation’s Doctor, the Surgeon General’s mission is to help lay the foundation for a healthier country, relying on the best scientific information available to provide clear, consistent, and equitable guidance and resources for the public. As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Dr. Murthy also commands a uniformed service of over 6,000 dedicated public health officers, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations. The first Surgeon General of Indian descent, Dr. Murthy was raised in Miami and is a graduate of Harvard, the Yale School of Medicine, and the Yale School of Management. He also recently launched a new podcast, House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy, designed around how conversations have the power to be healing. A renowned physician, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author, he lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Dr. Alice Chen, and their two children.
Dr. Allison Arwady
Dr. Allison Arwady, MD, MPH, is the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Dr. Arwady started at CDPH in 2015 and served as Chief Medical Officer before being confirmed by the City Council as Commissioner in January, 2020. As Chief Medical Officer she oversaw the disease control, environmental health, emergency preparedness, and behavioral health divisions. She has worked on disease outbreaks, immunization promotion, tuberculosis response, lead poisoning prevention, substance misuse, and more. Prior to CDPH, she worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer. In that role, she focused on outbreak response, including international work on Ebola and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. While based at the Illinois Department of Public Health, she responded to disease outbreaks across the state. She has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University, and completed medical school and clinical training at Yale University. She is a board-certified internal medicine physician and pediatrician, and continues to see primary care patients weekly.
Dr. Colleen Cicchetti
Colleen Cicchetti, PhD, is Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR), a Clinical Psychologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and an Associate Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is passionate about and committed to addressing health disparities and decreasing exposure to violence and trauma for children and families through innovative, healing-centered public health strategies; and promoting equitable access to evidence-based mental health interventions through collaborative partnerships, training, and evaluation.
In addition, Dr. Cicchetti serves in leadership roles in numerous state advocacy groups, including Clinical Director of the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, Appointed Member to the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership and Whole Child Task Force. Dr. Cicchetti received her Bachelor of Science degree from Duke University, a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Senator Mike Simmons
Mike Simmons’ roots run deep in the Illinois 7th State Senate District. He was born in Lincoln Square, the son of a single black mother and an Ethiopian refugee father. His mother, Ramona, who opened her own business, Salon Pastiche, in Rogers Park at 31 years old and ran it for 25 years, raised him and his sister. His father, Mulugetta, was also a small business owner and ran a bar, the Wild Hare, in Lakeview for 25 years. Mike Simmons family was one of the first Black families to integrate Lincoln Square after the U.S. Supreme Court mandated that public housing be built on Chicago’s Northside.
With his lived experiences and equity mindset, Mike Simmons has committed his life to advocacy and public service. He is dedicated to amplifying the voices of seniors, refugees, the transgender community, people experiencing financial instability, single mothers, and other silenced voices in our democracy.
He is the first black person to serve the 7th District, the first openly gay member of the Illinois Senate, and the third openly gay, black state senator in the nation. Mike Simmons is a trailblazer for the 7th District and statewide. He believes in opening doors for people who have historically been treated unjustly by the government.
Mike Simmons has delivered justice for his community. He secured funding for the Ceasefire violence interruption program in Uptown, worked with local organizers in Uptown, Edgewater, and Rogers Park to pass affordable housing ordinances, and fought on behalf of English language learners and their families as a member of the Brennemann Elementary School Council (2010-2016).
Simmons recently served as Deputy Director of My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, a group seeking to break down the barriers to opportunity standing before boys and young men of color. Mike Simmons has been honored with awards such as: Crain’s Chicago 40 under 40 award (2020), Crain’s Chicago Notable LGBTQ Executives (2019), Leadership Greater Chicago (2016), IMPACT Leadership Development Program (2016), Windy City Times 30 under 30 (2012), served on the Brennemann Elementary School Council from 2010-2014, Board Member of Equality Illinois (2010-2016), and a Co-Founder of the New Leaders Council Chicago.