Lydia L. Watts

Lydia L. Watts has over 20 years of senior management experience in government service, with broad expertise spanning public health, safety, and administration; correctional healthcare; strategic planning; health policy legislation; training; and teaching. As the Deputy Director for Illinois’s Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security, she plays a pivotal role in the strategic long-range planning of the department’s comprehensive multi-year training and exercise program, overseeing the design and implementation of targeted, flexible, and cost-effective training initiatives. These programs are designed to enhance and expand the skills and knowledge base related to planning, prevention, preparedness, readiness, recovery, and mitigation among first responders in Cook County, which is the second-largest county in the United States.

Lydia holds a BSW from the University of Missouri and earned a Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in health law from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She completed the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where she was honored with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Ellen Gordon Award. Lydia’s scholarly and professional contributions to the field of emergency management include several key publications, presentations and speaking engagements, and significant advisory and consulting roles across numerous organizations.

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