The Cook County Trauma Unit at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Founded in 1966 at Cook County Hospital, the trauma unit was the first comprehensive trauma unit established in the U.S., providing intervention and pre-hospital services, critical care and surgery, rehabilitation and extensive follow-up care.

“We are proud of the trauma unit’s legacy of providing state-of-the-art care to the most critically-injured patients,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, Cook County Health. “In its long history, Cook County Hospital, now Stroger Hospital, had many ‘firsts’. One of the most laudable is certainly the establishment of the country’s first comprehensive trauma center.”

The trauma unit has more than 5,500 activations each year, making it one of the busiest trauma centers in the country.

“Cook County helped lead the development of specialized trauma care for the most critically injured patients, as well as the national trauma network. Today, there are more than 520 Level I and II trauma centers across the U.S.,” said Dr. Faran Bokhari, Chair, Cook County Trauma & Burn Unit.

To kick off the year of celebration, CCH and Superior Ambulance Service unveiled a new state-of-the-art ambulance that carries the Cook County Trauma & Burn Unit’s logo and 50th anniversary seal. The ambulance includes top-of-the-line safety features, telemedicine capabilities, real time event audio/video recording, satellite and driver behavior tracking and wireless internet access.

“Superior Ambulance is proud to be CCH’ ambulance provider and to be able to participate in recognizing and celebrating their 50 years of trauma services,” said Mary Franco, Vice President of Superior Ambulance Service.

In the coming months, CCH will host several events recognizing the important role the trauma unit has played in advancing trauma care, training the trauma leaders of the future, and, most importantly, saving lives of seriously injured individuals in Cook County.