July 1, 2022– Israel Rocha, Jr., MPA, CEO of Cook County Health (CCH), has been named to the Board of Directors for America’s Essential Hospitals (AEH). AEH is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care.

“As our hospitals confront emergent workforce, health equity, and financial challenges, our board members’ expertise will be crucial to the association’s work,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals in a press release announcing AEH’s new Directors.

“It is an honor to serve AEH, an organization dedicated to the sustainability of our nation’s safety net health care providers and their life-saving work,” said Rocha. “Now more than ever, we must work together as a health care community to ensure health justice for all people, regardless of sex, immigration status, or ability to pay. I look forward to advancing AEH’s important work on behalf of its members.”

Rocha was also named to the Illinois Health and Hospital Association Board of Trustees earlier this year.

Committed throughout his career to social justice and health equity, Rocha launched the Office of Equity & Inclusion at CCH in early 2021 to bring together disparate parts of the health system in a collaborative way to affect real change. This effort, coupled with a commitment to increase services and improve facilities at the system’s Provident Hospital; and continuing to improve the quality of care delivered by Cook County Health, have been his key priorities since taking the helm at CCH in December 2020.

In April 2022, Mr. Rocha announced the establishment of The Change Institute of Cook County Health, a think-and-do-tank designed to address health equity, improve patient outcomes including the prevention of premature death.  The Change Institute will convene a broad spectrum of stakeholders from health care, business, academia, and government to tackle diseases like cancer, diabetes, cancer and stroke that disproportionally impact the health and livelihoods of minority communities. Mr. Rocha’s aim is to leverage all available resources to address these disease states with the same force and coordination demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.