CCH is Always There

Since its inception, Cook County Health has provided cutting edge treatment and services while ensuring access and delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in uncompensated services to carry out its mission to care for all without regard for their ability to pay.

CCH'S History of Leading the Way


Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded Provident Hospital, the nation’s first non-segregated interracial hospital, to train black physicians and nurses. He is credited with performing one of the first successful heart surgeries ever attempted while at Provident.


The world’s first blood bank opened at Cook County Hospital, and its founder, Dr. Bernard Fantus, opened a blood bank preservation laboratory. In 1973, Cook County Hospital became the first hospital to use an all frozen blood banking system.


The Midwest’s first cobalt-beam therapy unit opened for cancer patients at Cook County Hospital and was only one of three in the U.S.


A new central diagnostic x-ray department opened with the world’s first radiographic rooms especially designed for highly technical examinations of the chambers of the heart, blood vessels, the brain for tumors, and sectional depth body studies.


Cook County trauma was America’s first comprehensive trauma unit. Today it remains the busiest trauma center in the Illinois and the third busiest in the nation. It serves as a key training site for residents and students from around the country and a resource for specialized medical training.


Dr. Alon P. Winnie, now retired, pioneered nerve block techniques for regional anesthesia still used around the world today and was one of the founders of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia.


Dr. Boone Chunprapah became the first doctor to successfully reconnect four completely severed fingers from a man’s hand.

Early 1970s

CCHHS created one of the first multi-disciplinary child abuse teams dedicated to addressing myriad problems around child abuse, and was one of the first approved Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) fellowhips in child abuse pediatrics.


Drs. Ron Sable and Renslow Sherer founded Chicago’s first HIV/AIDS clinic.


The Trauma Unit invented the trans abdominal wall traction (TAWT), a device that allows surgeons to close what once were believed to be non-closeable open abdomens.


The Cook County Trauma Unit began training members of the U.S. Navy to expose active duty military personal to real life trauma situations and preparing to manage war zone mass causalities.

Serving Chicago Since 1835
The Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) has been serving the greater Chicago area since 1835 and continues meeting the health care needs of hundreds of thousands of people today.

Leading Medical Institution
From the 1920s through the 1950s, Cook County Hospital was the world’s largest medical institution, nicknamed “Chicago’s Statue of Liberty” since it served the needs of many indigent immigrants.

First Internship
CCHHS trains some of Chicago and the country’s leading physicians and clinicians. It has been teaching doctors since the mid-1800s, and in 1866, the first internship in the United States was started at the System. It quickly became known for providing tremendous experience with a wide range of diseases and now offers 22 residency and fellowship programs.

Specialized Research
CCHHS also conducts highly specialized original and collaborative research projects that expand the understanding of disease states that affect patients, including, for example, research to advance the care of patients with HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer.

One of the Nation's Largest Public Health System
Today, CCHHS is one of the nation's largest public health system and delivers care through its two hospitals, 16 community based clinics, the CORE Center, the Cook County Department of Public Health, and to thousands of individuals detained at the Cook County Jail and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center.

Serving Those in Need
In 2013, CCHHS launched CountyCare, a Medicaid managed care plan to provide coverage to low income patients. Initially, the plan was developed as a federal waiver demonstration project in collaboration with the State of Illinois to cover low income uninsured adults. As of July 2014 CountyCare has operated as a health plan that is able to accept all Medicaid beneficiaries. Starting this fall, most Medicaid recipients will be required to pick a managed care plan to cover and coordinate their care, and CountyCare will be an attractive plan option for them. The CountyCare network of contracted providers includes federally qualified health centers and hospitals located across the entire county, giving CountyCare members the opportunity to seek primary care in one of over 130 office locations. CountyCare also covers care within the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, and this has started to stabilize patient care revenues as an increasing number of patients who were previously uninsured are now covered by CountyCare. With health reform and the implementation of CountyCare, CCHHS has also initiated investments in prevention and community based primary care, shifting from a sole focus on “sickness” care to a more holistic orientation toward prevention and better health. CCHHS is part of the Illinois Medical District is the national largest urban medical district focused on expanding innovation in health care, medical science, information technology, biotechnology, medical devices, clean technology, and supportive assistive living.