5/13/20 - A Message from Secretary Hou: Employee Bright Spot & Press Conference Recap

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Good afternoon, IDHS staff:

Like many of you, I was very happy to hear Governor Pritzker announce a comprehensive plan to reopen Illinois. Although we are headed in the right direction, we know that we still have a long way to go to protect the safety and well-being of our community from COVID-19.

Since the launch of this pandemic, we have seen daily stories about the lives that our medical professionals are saving. From nurses, rehabilitation therapists, and other expert staff, our health and medical professionals are leading the charge to get us back to healthy.

While all of these roles are important during this pandemic, the IDHS team is also fortunate to have additional expertise from Dr. Brad Hughes, today's Bright Spot.

Today's Bright Spot: Dr. Brad Hughes (DMH - Deputy Clinical Director for Inpatient Services)

Dr. Hughes has been a member of the IDHS family for nearly 10 years, serving in a medical staff and leadership capacities. Prior to his current time with IDHS, he first joined the Division of Mental Health as a unit psychiatrist and eventually served as Medical Director for over three years at McFarland Mental Health Center through 2001.

From there, Dr. Hughes went to work as a psychiatrist and then as the Medical Director at Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center. He returned to IDHS in 2016 in the role of Deputy Clinical Director for Inpatient Services, in which he currently serves as the Chief Medical Director for DMH.

Given his extensive experience and board certification, Dr. Hughes oversees the inpatient services for the seven mental hospitals across Illinois. He remains instrumental in ensuring that safe and quality care is instituted at all the mental health facilities.

Well known for his reliability in a crisis, it is no surprise that Dr. Hughes has assumed a critical role across all IDHS facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Hughes leads the charge as Chair of our Infection Control working group; a team that oversees clinical care for mental health centers, the treatment and detention facility, and developmental centers across the state. Collectively, this group of medical professionals and hospital staff come together for daily calls to identify needs, troubleshoot hospital and center challenges, and implement all things medical related to COVID-19. With the help of this team, Dr. Hughes has created and implemented the COVID protocols for statewide operations that are in place today.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Hughes' calm, decisive, steadfast leadership has shined and his notable work has helped to save lives.

Dr. Hughes Fun Facts:

  • Dr. Hughes was an avid soccer player who received an Olympic nomination
  • Dr. Hughes has three children who are athletes as well
  • Dr. Hughes is a twin; his brother is also a physician in Michigan
  • Dr. Hughes' mother was the Hospital Administrator at Zeller MHC in Peoria prior to its closure

Thank you to Dr. Hughes and to the many medical professionals and hospital staff who are serving on the frontlines to care for those who need us most during this time. Your sacrifices are greatly appreciated.

Below, please also see the updates from the Governor's press conference yesterday.

COVID-19 Updates from the Governor's 05-12-2020 Press Conference

  • General Assembly: Governor JB Pritzker asked the Illinois General Assembly to convene as soon as it is possible and safe to do so to begin to put our financial and economic house back in order, even as we battle this terrible virus. The Governor added that the General Assembly needs to pass a comprehensive plan to support families, small businesses, and small towns because as Congress is looking at supporting the states, we need to make sure that we are supporting the people who make our economy go.
  • Legislative Priorities: The Governor highlighted many important initiatives he has asked the General Assembly to explore when they reconvene, including rent assistance and mortgage forbearance for both families as well as small businesses, restarting job recovery tax credits, and distributing funds to small cities and towns to ensure continuity of emergency and basic services.
  • Child Care: Governor Pritzker noted that while over 2,500 child care providers are currently operating in the Emergency Child Care Program and providing services to the children of essential workers, the need and demand for child care will increase as regions around the state begin to move to Phase 3 and reopen additional parts of their economies. Therefore, the Governor has created a task force to ensure child care capacity keeps up with demand around the state.
  • Daily Statewide COVID-19 cases: 4,014 new cases reported in Illinois out of 29,266 tests run over the preceding 24 hours for a positivity rate of 13.7%. There were also 144 new deaths reported.

Thank you,


Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS