Photo of the NEIU Auditorium on the Main Campus with a large screen with the text "The Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series" in white on a blue background.

Northeastern Illinois University to host former Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike as Goodwin Distinguished Lecture speaker

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Northeastern Illinois University is pleased to announce the speaker for the eighth Daniel L. Goodwin Lecture Series will be former Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “An Evening with Dr. Ngozi Ezike” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 25 in the Auditorium on the Main Campus, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. in Chicago. The lecture will also be live streamed on neiu.edu/lectures.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required as seating is limited. Masks will be required to be worn while on campus, per the University’s interim COVID-19 policy. Tickets are currently available at neiu.edu/tickets, in person at the University’s Welcome Desk and Box Office or by calling (773) 442-4636. 

Ezike was the first Black woman appointed to lead IDPH in its 145-year history as a state agency. For nearly three years, she helped the state navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a board-certified internist and pediatrician who previously worked for Cook County Health, the hospital and healthcare system addressing the needs of the residents of Cook County, for more than 15 years. Ezike is a nationally recognized expert in the area of healthcare within the juvenile detention and justice systems. A graduate of Harvard University and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, she is a Certified Correctional Health Professional and diplomate of both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. She is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Rush Medical College. 

Ezike is the recipient of several honorary doctorates from Southern Illinois University, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, and Knox College, and numerous awards including the University of St. Francis’ Sister Clare of Assisi Award, the 2020 Excellence in Public Service Award from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the Lester H. McKeever Individual Service Award from the Chicago Urban League, and the Health Innovator Award from Erie Family Health Center. In the press conference announcing her resignation, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared March 1, 2022, as “Dr. Ngozi Ezike Day,” and noted that his top health advisor “will go down in the Illinois history books as a woman who changed our state for the better.” USA Today recently named Ezike the 2022 Illinois Honoree for their “Woman of the Year” project.  

An advocate for maintaining work-life balance, particularly in challenging times, Ezike is an avid tennis player and reader, and is fluent in Spanish and French. 

The Daniel L. Goodwin Distinguished Lecture Series was created in 2015 by Daniel L. Goodwin, Chairman and CEO of Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc., as part of his historic $2.5 million commitment to Northeastern Illinois University. The lecture series fund supports freedom of speech by providing prominent thinkers representing all sides of issues.

Previous featured speakers in the Goodwin series have included:  

  • Journalism icons Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
  • Political pundits James Carville and Mary Matalin
  • Olympic champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee
  • Environmental activist Erin Brockovich

Photo of Dr. Ngozi Ezike smiling against an off white background in a blue top and pearl necklace.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike