A second-generation Jamaican Garth Walker has been selected by United States President Joe Biden to be a Presidential Fellow for 2021-2022. Walker is a board-certified emergency physician and a former public health executive. He is attached to the Department of Human Services and works as a special adviser to the US Surgeon General and is one of 19 individuals to receive the honor. With this appointment, Walker joins other celebrated Americans who have served as Presidential Fellows, including the late General Colin Powell.
Walker is known as a leader in health care and public health. He has been interviewed by major news sources, including the ABC and MSNBC television networks and the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper. He has provided his insights and expertise on many of the critical issues of today, such as COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy, and strategies to improve access to health care.
A graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Walker has a BA in economics and a minor in chemistry. He also earned a degree in medicine from the University of Illinois in Chicago and an MA in public health from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. After being trained in emergency medicine at the University of Chicago, Walker was also a health economics research fellow at Northwestern’s Buehler Center of Health Economics and Policy.
Walker is currently a practicing emergency medicine physician at the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Hospital. He previously served as the deputy director for the Illinois Department of Public Health, and while there he was involved with public health strategies to address COVID-19 that were designed to raise vaccination rates, provide advice to vaccine operations in various state departments, and improve strategies to address the opioid crisis in Illinois. Additionally, Walker is an assistant professor at the Northwestern Emergency Department.
Walker has achieved many academic accomplishments as well, such as authoring peer-reviewed articles on firearm injury, health care disparities, and social determinants of health. He received Runner-Up honors in a top paper competition at the Journal of Healthcare Management and reviews several scientific journals in emergency medicine. He is an adviser for the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine with the national nonprofit Aspen Foundation, an organization that supports research into effective policies regarding firearms.
In addition to being appointed by President Biden to be a White House Fellow in the Office of the Surgeon General, Walker has displayed his commitment to civic leadership when he was named by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to serve on the city’s equity advisor board. He is the co-founder of IMPACT4HC and is on the board of Imerman Angels and Thresholds.
Walker’s parents were born in Jamaica,
White House Photo