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Preckwinkle taps new leader for Cook County’s Department of Public Health
Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck has been chosen to take over the suburban public health department after two years of split interim leadership.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022
Crain's Chicago Business
by A.D. Quig

After two years with two interim physicians leading the department through a deadly pandemic, Cook County’s Department of Public Health is slated for new leadership.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is nominating Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, 56, as chief operating officer at CCDPH, more than two years after Dr. Terry Mason was removed from the post. Mason’s exit in April of 2020 came just as COVID was beginning to ravage Illinois, drawing surprise and some criticism from other county officials.

 

Mason was replaced on an interim basis by Dr. Kiran Joshi and Dr. Rachel Rubin, both CCDPH senior medical officers who were medical staff at Stroger Hospital. The two ended up managing suburban Cook County’s response through COVID. A search to find a permanent replacement began in January, according to a county health spokeswoman.

Among Hasbrouck's goals are to transform CCDPH into a “premiere” public health department, in part by better integrating its work with Cook County Health. He hopes to add staff and boost the department's budget through grants and private partnerships. Hasbrouck says he'll lean on his network, "having worked at every level of the public health enterprise" to do so.

Hasbrouck does have a wide range of experience, including as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health during Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration from 2012 to 2015. There he oversaw the state's implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid coverage, as well as the Ebola and MERS outbreaks. He stepped down after Quinn lost his re-election bid and went to the D.C.-based National Association of County and City Health Officials, where he served as executive director until 2017.

From there, he worked as a senior advisor on strategy and growth at the Chicago-based American Medical Association for a little over a year. He also launched his own consulting firm, DLM LLC, which advised companies on COVID protocols, and wrote a book, “COVID Bytes” about the early days of the pandemic, according to his website. He is no stranger to media—he’s contributed to The Hill and appeared on CNN.

Hasbrouck recently returned to his home base in Bethesda, Md., after serving as the senior advisor to the secretary general of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s private health insurance regulatory agency in Riyadh.

LaMar Hasbrouck

He received his masters of public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and his M.D. from UCLA. From 2000 through 2009, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as both a senior medical officer and director on several global programs in Africa, Asia, and South America. After that, he served three years as the commissioner of Ulster County New York’s Departments of Health and Mental Health.

If confirmed, Hasbrouck says he’ll be talking a lot about health expectancy—whether residents expect to be healthy or sick.

“Sometimes communities—and certainly the one I grew up in—we didn’t really have a very high health expectancy, and so we had a very high tolerance of diabetes and amputations and complications and hypertension, and unchecked things that if we expected better, that we would expect better of our elected officials, our public health agency, etc. Really going to be looking to transform this sense of health expectancy for residents.”

Hasbrouck must be confirmed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners, who also act as the county's Board of Health. The appointment is expected to be called for a hearing and vote in June.

CCDPH is housed under Cook County Health’s portfolio. It has a $17 million budget and roughly 130 budgeted full-time employees. If Hasbrouck is confirmed, Drs. Joshi and Rubin will return to their previous roles. Salary details were not immediately available.



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