Cook County leaders gathered December 12, 2022, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital.

In 1994, the Cook County Board of Commissioners convened public hearings on a plan to build a new hospital, which would replace the 90-year-old Cook County Hospital. Construction on the new 464-bed, $551 million replacement facility was completed in 2002.

On December 12, 2002, 320 patients were moved from the old hospital to the new John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital.

Current Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle recognized her predecessors who were critical in pushing for the new building.

“At a time when many local governments were getting out of health care, Dick Phelan decided to buck the trend and build a new facility to replace the 90-year-old Cook County Hospital – and it wasn’t a particularly popular decision but the right one,” President Preckwinkle said. “A lifelong advocate of universal health care, John Stroger took up the mantle of a new hospital when he came in as Board President.”

Today, Cook County Health cares for 600,000 people each year across two hospitals, an ambulatory care network, and CountyCare Medicaid Managed Care plan.

“Cook County Health and Stroger Hospital continue to stand as a symbol of commitment to health equity for the residents of Cook County and our mission to care for all,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha. “As much as I appreciate reflecting on all that has been accomplished in the last two decades, I am even more excited to look ahead to the future. Just like the County did years ago, we are continuing to invest in our staff, facilities and technology to ensure we can provide access to the best medicine possible for all of our communities.”

On December 12, 2022, current and former Cook County leaders gathered to recognize the milestone alongside staff, including Dr. Lily Hussein, a Cook County Health oncologist who is celebrating her 50th year of service, and Ms. Ernestine Daniels, an administrative assistant in CCH’s neurosurgery department and chaplain, who has been with the health system for 57 years.

“Key to our lasting impact in the community has always been our staff, who remain as mission-driven as the hospital’s founders nearly 200 years ago,” Mr. Rocha said.

To learn more about Cook County Health’s history and to watch a video about Stroger Hospital, visit

(Left to right) Josina Morita, 13th District Cook County Commissioner; Brandon Johnson, 1st District Cook County Commissioner; John Daley, 11th District Cook County Commissioner; Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President; Israel Rocha, Cook County Health CEO; Dr. Lily Hussein, Cook County Health oncologist, Ernestine Daniels, administrative assistant in Cook County Health’s neurosurgery department and chaplain; Anthony Quezada, 8th District Cook County Commissioner; Bridget Degnen, 12th District Cook County Commissioner; Donna Miller, 6th District Cook County Commissioner.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha; Todd Stroger, former Cook County Board President and son of former Cook County Board President and hospital namesake John H. Stroger, Jr.