Maintaining the legacy of Michael Reese Hospital
To continue the legacy of Michael Reese Hospital through supportive research, education and community service through relationships that foster quality healthcare.
The Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation
The Foundation was founded in 1991 by the physicians and staff of Michael Reese hospital when the Hospital was sold so that the safety net activities and grant programs could continue through the auspices of a non-profit foundation. Initially, the Foundation administered funding for research projects, supplemented educational expenses for housestaff and founded and managed funds for community programs, including HIV Care and Women’s Health.
Then in 2009, after 127 years of providing excellent patient care, making significant research contributions, and acting as one of the top medical training centers in the country, Michael Reese Hospital closed. The Foundation Board of Directors decided to carry on the legacy of the hospital by investing in research, education and community service in the Chicago area. The HIV and women’s health programs relocated to other hospitals in the area – the HIV program to Mercy Hospital and the Women’s Health program to Metro South Medical Center. The administrative functions of the program were solved by a unique collaboration with the Hektoen Institute, which had office space to spare and considerable expertise in managing CDPH and other grants.
Since the closure of the hospital, the Foundation has continued the legacy of Michael Reese Hospital through the endowment of five named professors at the University of Illinois, and support of translational medical research programs centered at the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, Loyola, Northwestern, and Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Education scholarships have been provided to students first in Hispanocare, and then through MOLA, and more recently through Rosalind Franklin University and an endowed lectureship at the University of Chicago.
As the legacy of the Michael Reese Hospital physicians and staff, we owe it to both our past and future to keep pushing medical care forward with the same dedication and encompassing approach for all patients everywhere. Today we carry on with a staff of two and a board of 10.
Michael Reese Hospital
In the late 19th century, Michael Reese, a wealthy businessman left his fortune to his family living in Chicago. The inheritance was given to the United Hebrew Association which built a hospital on the near southside. In 1881, the new facility opened at 29 Groveland Park Avenue with two preconditions: it was to be called Michael Reese Hospital and it was to treat all patients regardless of religion, ethnicity or class.
The spirit of care at Michael Reese Hospital for the next 127 years was expressed in words spoken by Herman F. Hahn, President of the Hospital Building Committee in 1905.
He described the charitable institution as a place where…
“All faiths stand on the same footing where the equal rights of all consciences are respected and where the essential oneness and intrinsic dignity of all human beings is acknowledged.”
Under this guiding principle, the hospital rose to prominence in Chicago as one of the top medical centers. At its height, it was the largest hospital in the city with 2400 beds. Even as the hospital struggled to keep its doors open in the early 21st century, it served unconditionally as a safety net hospital and provided quality care for all patients.
The hospital achieved prominence far beyond Chicago. It attracted leading medical practitioners and scientists from around the world, becoming internationally known for pioneering research and housestaff and fellowship training. Many scientific findings and therapeutic breakthroughs originated from Michael Reese and spread to hospitals worldwide.
The institution struggled with the changing realities of medicine, but kept growing, and pushing the forefront of medicine while maintaining excellent standards and care. In the late 1980’s, the Hospital Board decided to sell the hospital while continuing safety net activities through the auspices of an internally operating foundation. The Michael Reese Research and Education Foundation began in 1991. The Foundation administered funding for research projects, supplemented educational expenses for housestaff, and founded and managed funds for community programs, including HIV care and Women’s Health. The annual Michael Reese Crystal Ball, a major social event in Chicago, attracted generous donors who supported the Foundation’s work.
In 2009, Michael Reese Hospital closed. Buildings were demolished, and the history of a storied institution ended. An institution that helped so many and achieved so much. It is hard to comprehend that such a prominent institution is now erased from the landscape.
By combining leading edge research with patient-focused healthcare delivery, the family of Michael Reese Hospital was accessible in the best sense of neighbor-friendliness, and recognized in the highest circles of medical science.
As the last functioning remnant of this great institution, we owe it both our past and the future to keep pushing medical care forward with the same dedication and encompassing approach for all patients everywhere. And we would consider the Foundation as part of that legacy of the Michael Reese Hospital physicians and staff.
Michael Reese Board of Directors
William Chamberlin, MD
Chairman of the Board of Directors
William A. Clark, PhD
Dennis Levinson, MD
Mark Shields, MD, MBA
Alan Schwartz, PhD
Michael Reese Endowed Professor of Medical Education
David Lieb, MD
Arthur Moswin, MD
Director of the Michael Reese HIV Care program
Sandra Wilks, RN, MSN, CNE
Director of the Michael Reese Women’s Health clinic
Audrey Tatar, MD