Subpoena targets programs approved by UCMC executive

State officials allege the Let’s Talk, Let’s Test Foundation spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on illegal staff bonuses.

By Jonathan Lai

A federal grand jury subpoenaed the records of University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) executive Dr. Eric Whitaker (M.D. '93), a leader of the UCMC's Urban Health Initiative, as part of an investigation into state-funded health outreach programs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported May 9.

State officials allege the Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation, an initiative to fight AIDS in black communities, spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on illegal staff bonuses. Whitaker has not been named as a target of the investigation, but the privately-run programs were approved for funding when he was director of the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH). Four of the five subpoenas target the Let's Talk, Let's Test Foundation.

"Any and all data in electronic storage for the email and other electronic storage accounts" of Whitaker's were requested in one of the subpoenas. The subpoenas appear to be focused on the funding for specific programs Whitaker has defended, saying that these programs "were recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others as national models for increasing awareness and disaster preparedness planning for minority populations, and were functioning well when I left the department in 2007."

Whitaker, currently the executive vice president for Strategic Affiliations and associate dean of Community-based Research at the UCMC, received his medical degree from the Pritzker School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health.