"Dr. Mona" is the medical contributor for FOX Chicago News.
Dr. Mona is a triple board-certified medical doctor and an Emmy award-winning medical journalist who is committed to making a difference in the lives of others through raising health literacy and promoting healthy behaviors.
She embodies this spirit herself through 25 years of lap swimming, weight training, and energizing food choices that have helped her compete and finish 1st and 2nd in multiple Chicago sprint triathlons, half-marathons and marathons.
After immigrating with her family to Chicago from India, Dr. Mona started school in the U.S. as an English as a second language student, and ultimately graduated as valedictorian from Joyce Kilmer Public School in Rogers Park, then with top honors from Arlington High School in Arlington Heights, IL. At Northwestern University she attended the Medill School of Journalism, and then went on to medical school at the University of Illinois, where she is now a Visiting Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate in the Center for Global Health.
She travels annually on medical missions and is an acclaimed humanitarian and disaster volunteer for which she has been recognized with the 2013 American College of Physicians Volunteerism Award, 2012 Institute of Medicine of Chicago Global Health Humanitarian Award and 2008 University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award. She is a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security, and her medical relief efforts have earned praise from Congress, Texas and California governors, Cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and the Veterans Administration.
For her pioneering work in medicine and media, she was awarded the 2012 Chicago Foundation for Women "Breaking Barriers" Award and the 2005 Illinois State Society Award. She is also a winner of the 2010 Illinois Woman's Press Association Reporting Award.
A four-time awardee of the American Medical Association Physicians Recognition Award, Dr. Mona is the only medical doctor inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement. She is also the only career journalist inducted into the prestigious Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society. After completing medical school and three specialty residencies (internal medicine, public health/preventive medicine and occupational medicine), she became one of the country's youngest medical directors. She left executive medicine in 2002 with the goal of empowering patients through health education on television, and worked as a medical reporter in Palm Springs and Dallas before returning home to Chicago.
Dr. Mona was the first physician to report from the frontlines of a disaster site while providing care. This was at Ground Zero in New York City after the terrorist attacks of September 1, 2001. She has volunteered as an emergency aid worker for 15 years, and specializes in print, online and television reporting from sites where she provides medical aid, including from New York after Superstorm Sandy, from Port-au-Prince after the Haiti earthquake, from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and from Indonesia after the Indian Ocean tsunami. Her disaster and humanitarian work have also taken her to slums in India, a children's orphanage in Thailand, schools in Suriname and Guyana, the Amazon Jungle in Brazil, post-tsunami battered Sri Lanka, church-based clinics in the Dominican Republic, the frozen tundra of the North Pole and the Ukraine and Israel. Dozens of print, magazine, online, television and radio reports have carried her accounts of human tragedy, triumph and preparation.
She has hosted and co-produced two award-winning ½-hour medical specials "Diagnosis: Cancer," and "Cheap Medicine: Mexico's Medications." A former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Mona received her Emmy award for her creative feature "The Health Benefits of Chocolate." And for her leadership in empowering people across the globe through television, radio, magazine, newspaper and online heath reports as well as her work as an emergency volunteer, Dr. Mona has received more than 50 honors in the past decade, including five Emmy Award nominations, the Award of Valor from the National Association of Minority Media Executives and the Leadership Award from the American Medical Association Foundation. She has been recognized by the Chicago Indian-American Medical Association, Asian-American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association and the International Health and Medical Media Awards, among others. She is a popular event speaker on health disparities, leadership, public health, emergency preparedness, humanitarianism, and medicine and the media.
A former Rotary Scholar, she loves reading and international travel, cuisine and film, especially Bollywood movies. She has studied medicine in Israel, Ukraine, Switzerland, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, and Japan.