January 19, 2021

Illinois Medical District Press Office
Ryan Gage

CHICAGO—Illinois Medical District (IMD) Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Dr. Suzet McKinney today announced that Dr. McKinney will step down from her position next month. As the Board of Commissioners launches a national search for a new Executive Director, Kate Schellinger, currently the Chief of Staff at the Illinois Medical District, will serve as the interim Executive Director. Dr. McKinney has accepted an opportunity at Sterling Bay where she will lead the Life Sciences arm of the Chicago developer.

“Suzet’s impact and dedication will not be forgotten, and we are proud to have had her leading the team through our growth as a premier life sciences hub in Chicago and the United States,” said Neville Reid, Chair of the Board of Commissioners for the Illinois Medical District and Partner at Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP. “Suzet has helped the IMD build a foundation for innovation and further growth in the future, and we look forward to continuing the work she performed so well while wishing her the best in her new endeavors.”

The Illinois Medical District, a 24/7/365 innovation district on Chicago’s Near West Side, includes 560 acres of medical research facilities, labs, a biotech business incubator, universities, raw land development areas and more than 40 healthcare-related organizations. It is one of the largest urban medical districts in the United States. During Dr. McKinney’s more than five years as Executive Director, she led the IMD’s mission to foster innovation around the research, development and delivery of innovative health solutions to Chicago and beyond.

Among her many successes, Dr. McKinney oversaw the payoff of the District’s decade old $40 million bond debt; recruited Superior Ambulance, which brought more than 100 jobs to Chicago residents; partnered with Westside United to invest $6 million aimed at eliminating health disparities on Chicago’s  West Side; supported the redevelopment of the Old Cook County Hospital, a multi-use redevelopment that includes two hotels, medical offices, retail spaces and a museum, as well as the IMD Gateway, a 9.5 acre mixed-use development that includes Starbucks, Chipotle and other leading retailers.

“Leading the Illinois Medical District through this period of intense growth and development has been the honor of a lifetime,” said Dr. Suzet McKinney, outgoing Executive Director. “I am confident that the organization will continue on its current trajectory and I wish all the best to my incomparable team.”

As Chief of Staff, Kate Schellinger has overseen health and science programming as well as initiatives around workforce and neighborhood development, working in close partnership with IMD stakeholders and governmental officials at all levels to foster an ecosystem of collaboration and drive economic growth for the city, the county and the state. Prior to joining the IMD, Schellinger led the development of a community preparedness and resilience program at the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) within the Bureau of Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response. While at CDPH, Schellinger served in a leadership role in many planned event responses and real-world emergencies, including the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, the 2012 NATO summit, and the 2014-2105 Ebola response. Schellinger holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern University and is a graduate of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative program at Harvard University.

“I look forward to continuing my work at the IMD as we push to innovate around the research, development and delivery of innovative health solutions that will advance equity,” said Kate Schellinger, Interim Executive Director. “Dr. McKinney led our organization through an incredible period of growth, and I am honored to step into this role.”


About the Illinois Medical District (IMD)

The IMD is a community of health, technology and life science organizations in the heart of Chicago, two miles west of the Loop on 560 acres. Every day, more than 80,000 people visit the IMD, including more than 29,000 employees. With $220 million in annual research funding, the IMD generates $3.4 billion in economic activity each year. The IMD offers partners a unique ecosystem of knowledge, collaboration and resources, plus something more: the opportunity to impact the world’s next great healthcare innovation district. Together, IMD partners accelerate discovery and commercialization that is reshaping the practice of all life sciences, generating prosperity for everyone.