For­mer Cook County pub­lic health of­fi­cial Roth­stein dies at 90

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Ruth Roth­stein, the for­mer chief of the Cook County Bureau of Health Ser­vices who was cred­ited for turn­ing around what was once an out­dated pub­lic health sys­tem in Chicago into one of the coun­try’s lead­ing mod­els and was con­sid­ered a ma­jor fig­ure among pub­lic hos­pi­tal lead­ers, has died at the age of 90.

Roth­stein be­gan her ca­reer in health­care when she took a job as a lab­o­ra­tory tech­ni­cian at Jack­son Park Hos­pi­tal in Chicago in 1952. Af­ter tak­ing a po­si­tion as an as­sis­tant to the gen­eral di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Mount Si­nai Hos­pi­tal in Chicago in 1966, she worked her way up through ranks to even­tu­ally be­come pres­i­dent and CEO of the hos­pi­tal in 1977, a po­si­tion she held un­til 1991 when she was named hos­pi­tal di­rec­tor for Cook County Hos­pi­tal.

Known as a no-non­sense ad­min­is­tra­tor who was a tire­less ad­vo­cate for the county’s low-in­come and unin­sured pa­tients, Roth­stein took charge of the Cook County Bureau of Health Ser­vices, now known as Cook County Health and Hos­pi­tals Sys­tem, at a time when the area’s health sys­tem was viewed by many as a place that of­fered lit­tle in the way of qual­ity care.

By the time Roth­stein re­tired in 2004, she had over­seen the con­struc­tion of John H. Stroger Jr. Hos­pi­tal, as well as the cre­ation of the Ruth Roth­stein CORE Cen­ter, a clinic that works to­ward preven­tion, care and re­search in­volv­ing HIV/AIDS and other in­fec­tious dis­eases.

Roth­stein con­tin­ued her work up un­til

her death, most re­cently pre­sid­ing as chair­woman of the Ros­alind Franklin Univer­sity of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, Ill.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Ros­alind Franklin Univer­sity Pres­i­dent and CEO Dr. K. Michael Welch praised Roth­stein as be­ing an in­te­gral part of the univer­sity com­mu­nity, and for pro­vid­ing guid­ance at crit­i­cal junc­tures in the school’s his­tory.

In 2004, Roth­stein was in­ducted into Mod­ern Health­care’s Health Care Hall of Fame. Roth­stein was also named to Mod­ern Health­care’s 100 Most In­flu­en­tial Peo­ple in Health­care in 2002.

—Steven Ross John­son

Roth­stein

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