Dr. Omar Lateef became president and CEO of Rush University Medical Center in May 2019. Prior to becoming president and CEO, Lateef was the chief medical officer.
Under his leadership, the Medical Center has received national attention for its ongoing, effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic, which included building a forward triage, deploying early testing, acceptance of critically ill patient transfers especially from communities hit hardest by the pandemic, and being one of the first health systems to offer antibody testing. In recognition of Lateef’s role in Rush’s response to the crisis, Modern Healthcare named him to their 2021 list of the 100 most influential people in health care in the US.
In 2021, he was appointed president of Rush University System for Health.
A nationally recognized leader in the measurement of health care quality, Lateef has worked with physicians and analysts at Rush and from academic medical centers across the nation to evaluate the driving factors and methodology of quality rankings by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. News and World Report and others.
In January 2020, Lateef was invited by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to serve on the National Advisory Council for Healthcare Research and Quality of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Lateef and his colleagues evaluated and recommended changes to the rating systems for accuracy and the best reflection of quality. His work to ensure that key national measures are transparent and measure the right, meaningful data points greatly affected how health care quality is reported across the country.
Rush University Medical Center was among the first recipients of the Mayor’s Medal of Honor in April 2021. The Medical Center was the only hospital in Chicago to receive the award, established by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to recognize individuals and organizations who made extraordinary contributions to Chicago’s residents throughout 2020 and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under Lateef’s leadership, Rush performed exceptionally well in rankings from government organizations and from private rankings companies. Rush University Medical Center has a five-star rating, the highest possible, from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Medical Center has twice earned a spot on the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll and in 2022, Newsweek ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 16 in the U.S. and No. 56 in the world. Other accolades include receiving A grades in 18 of the 19 rounds of grades issued since the Leapfrog Group began rating hospitals in 2012, including the most recent ratings. In 2021, Vizient, Inc., ranked Rush University Medical Center No. 2 in the nation in quality and accountability.
In 1995, Lateef earned a bachelor's degree in religious studies from the University of Florida-Gainesville. He received his medical degree from Des Moines University and completed his internship and residency at New York University Downtown Hospital. He completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Rush University Medical Center in 2005.