CHICAGO – January 9, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today named Dr. Quentin Young Illinois’ Public Health Advocate. Dr. Young will develop wellness and education programs to help improve the health of the residents across Illinois.
“Throughout his long and distinguished career, Quentin Young has stood up for patients everywhere,” said Governor Quinn. “He will be a strong voice for Illinois families and will fight to ensure that everyone has easy-to-understand information about critical public health issues facing our state.”
Dr. Young, who has accepted the position for $1 a year, has been a constant advocate for patient rights, changing the face of medicine in Chicago and around the nation. Dr. Young founded the Committee to End Discrimination, which would eventually help to desegregate Chicago hospitals. In 1964, he helped launch the Medical Committee for Human Rights, serving as national chairman for the group that would become the medical arm of the Civil Rights Movement.. (Background Information)
Serving as personal physician to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Young marched beside him in 1966 during a peaceful protest in Chicago, treating King’s wound when an angry spectator hit him with a rock.
”I am honored to be appointed to be Illinois Public Health Advocate by Governor Quinn,” said Dr. Young. “I look forward to utilizing my lifetime of experience to develop effective programs that will improve the health of the people of Illinois.”
Dr. Young served successfully as chairman of the Department of Medicine at Cook County Hospital, president of the Chicago Board of Health, and president of the American Public Health Association. Dr. Young founded the Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program. In 2001, a 78-year-old Dr. Young walked across Illinois with Governor Quinn in support of quality healthcare for everyone.
Governor Quinn signed an executive order to create the position of Illinois’ Public Health Advocate on November 21, 2009. The office will recommend and facilitate the development of public health strategies designed to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure diseases. (Executive Order)
In his position Dr. Young will focus on assisting residents in understanding health coverage provisions and help them better understand their public health rights. He will also work to ensure that public health reports are easily accessible and understandable. The position will be housed within the Department of Public Health and will utilize existing public health programs, staff and resources.