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Elizabeth M. Whitehorn, HFS Director

Elizabeth M. Whitehorn, Director

Elizabeth Whitehorn is a committed public servant who has worked at the intersection of policy, law, and politics her entire career. Most recently, she served as First Assistant Deputy Governor in Governor JB Pritzker’s administration, managing the healthcare and human services agencies and initiatives. In this position, she played a leading role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including testing and vaccine efforts and the nation-leading rental assistance and childcare restoration grant programs. From the Governor’s Office, she spearheaded the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, a collaborative approach among six state agencies to improve services, resources, and outcomes for youth with significant behavioral health needs. Over the last five years, Elizabeth has worked closely on the administration’s healthcare initiatives, including legislation to authorize a state-based healthcare exchange, increased access to healthcare services, and expanded programs supporting reproductive healthcare, as well as efforts to strengthen the state’s early childhood system.

Before joining the administration, Elizabeth served as a senior policy advisor on Governor Pritzker’s campaign, where she focused on healthcare, economic development and criminal justice policy proposals. She also served on Governor Pritzker’s transition staff overseeing appointments to boards and commissions. Elizabeth previously worked in Governor Pat Quinn’s administration as Deputy Director for Personnel in the Department of Central Management Services and Associate General Counsel in the Governor’s Office, where she focused on labor and employment issues.

In addition to her service in state government, Elizabeth has worked on several campaigns, including Dan Hynes for Governor and Sol Flores for Congress; and served as an Associate Attorney at Jenner & Block LLP and a Staff Law Clerk for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. From 2001 to 2004, Elizabeth was Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the Chicago Public Schools.

Elizabeth is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow, Class of 2023, and was an Edgar Fellow in 2019. She serves on the George F. Baker Scholar Program Board of Trustees at Georgetown University. Elizabeth holds a JD from Northwestern Law School and a BA from Georgetown University. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.