Eric Whitaker '83 Is Revamping The Youth Program That Got Him Into Medicine

By: SHIA KAPOS, Chicago Magazine

After years being known as the pal and golfing buddy to former President Barack Obama, Eric Whitaker slipped out of the spotlight to start a company. 

St. Rita Graduate Eric Whitaker '83  (Photo Credit: Shia Kapos, Chicago Magazine)

St. Rita Graduate Eric Whitaker '83  (Photo Credit: Shia Kapos, Chicago Magazine)

Now the self-described health-care investor is back in. The 53-year-old has joined the board of the DuSable Museum and Education Center and he’s rebuilding the little-known youth program—the Chicago Area Health and Medical Careers Program—that closed down 18 months ago when state funding dried up.

The program started in the late 1970s at the Illinois Institute of Technology as a mentoring program for students looking for careers in health care and medicine. (It’s for years been nicknamed “Champ” because the real acronym—CAHMCP—is hard to pronounce.) Whitaker was one of the first students to enroll in Champ when he was in high school on the Southwest Side.