Cook County Health’s John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital has been named the first in Illinois and seventh in the nation for racial inclusivity by the Lown Institute Hospitals Index. The 2021 rankings assessed more than 3,200 hospitals nationwide and is the first rating system to look at the racial inclusivity.

“Cook County Health has long been recognized in our region as the provider of care for all, regardless of race, immigration or insurance status, or orientation,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “At a time when we are still faced with tackling the generational marginalization of Black and LatinX communities, I am proud that Cook County Health stands out among its peers in the state and the country for its racial inclusivity.”

To rank hospitals on their racial inclusivity, the Lown Institute evaluated and compared how the hospital’s Medicare patient demographics compared to that of the demographics of the surrounding communities that the hospital serves.

“Equity is at the core of this storied institution’s 185-year-old mission, and we are dedicated to closing the health equity gap in Cook County,” said Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha Jr. “This recognition underscores that our commitment to equity and inclusion goes far beyond words. We work each and every day to ensure that our patients, including those who are the most vulnerable among us, have the capability to achieve their full health potential.”

As Cook County Health continues its quest for health equity across all of Cook County, the health system has developed the Center for Health Equity and Innovation; rolled-out a vaccine program designed to reach the Black and Brown communities hit hardest by COVID-19; redoubled efforts to address food and housing insecurity; increased mental health services; and continues to improve the lives of our justice-involved patients.

In April, Cook County Health named Shannon Andrews as its inaugural Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer. In this role, Andrews is focused on identifying the root causes and operational functions that contribute to inequalities and building on the hospital’s dedication to the communities it serves to ensure increased change by advocating for racial diversity, equity and inclusion across the organization. She is also working with the health system’s leadership team to develop and implement programs that enhance diversity and demonstrate proven results creating a positive care environment for patients and a positive work environment for employees.

“This recognition makes evident that Cook County Health is deeply rooted in a commitment to inclusion, compassion, hope and providing a safe and healing environment for all who come through its doors,” said Cook County Health Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer Shannon Andrews.

For more information on how the Lown Institute arrived at its rankings, please visit:

Elizabeth Pedersen, Communications Manager