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History of the Department

Timeline History of Innovation Through Service

  • 1832: Origins of Cook County Hospital date back to 1832, when it was located downtown and served as a public hospital providing free medical care. Other settings provided both clinical care and medical education until the Cook County Hospital Administration Building was completed in 1914. The John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County was opened in 2002 next to the old hospital building, which is now a privately funded mixed use development that includes a Hyatt Hotel. Histories have been intertwined for well over 100 years as Cook County Hospital was the practice site in the early days of the UIC Department of Pediatrics, and in 2021 UI Health and Cook County Health announced collaboration of specialty pediatric services under the Partnership for Pediatric Care.
  • 1858: Dr. Edward Lorenzo Holmes opened the Chicago Charitable Eye & Ear Infirmary, where patients could be treated at no cost by licensed volunteer doctors. In 1870, when a new Illinois constitution banned appropriations to non-state institutions, legislators changed the name to the Illinois Charitable Eye & Ear Infirmary. The name now is the Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary.
  • 1859: The Chicago College of Pharmacy was the earliest academic unit of the university. It was briefly closed during the Civil War and after the Chicago Fire in 1871, and affiliated again in 1896.
  • 1867: The University of Illinois was founded in Urbana as the Illinois Industrial University under the Morrill Act, which had been passed by Congress in 1862 to create the land-grant university system.
  • 1880s: UIC athletics began with the basketball and football teams of the College of Physicians & Surgeons. Team colors were red (blood) and iodoform (iodine).
  • 1881: College of Physicians & Surgeons of Chicago (to become University of Illinois College of Medicine) was established
  • 1882: College of Physicians & Surgeons of Chicago opened its doors to 100 students with a faculty of 27 physicians at the corner of Harrison and Honore. Concurrently a professorship of “Diseases of Children” was established; this was a forward-looking move because most other medical schools at the time combined pediatrics gynecology and obstetrics, e.g., “Professorship of Diseases of Women & Children.” The site for clinical training was the adjacent West Side Hospital. The West Side Free Dispensary on the first floor of the medical school furnished material for college clinics, including pediatrics.
  • 1885: Frank Waxham, who was the first to hold the chair of Diseases of Children, took over the technique of laryngeal intubation upon its introduction in 1885. His courageous advocacy of this initially unpopular method contributed to the preservation of many young lives in the virulent diphtheria epidemics of that pre-antitoxin era, when tracheotomy carried a mortality rate exceeding 60 percent. Other notable early faculty members included Walter S. Christopher, who pioneered in studies of the relationship between the physical condition of children and their intellectual capacity; and Charles Warrington Earle, the youngest of the school’s five founders, who went against prevailing public option to urge the germ theory of diphtheria etiology, promote the fact that typhoid fever could occur in babies and toddlers, and present ways that breast-feeding was superior in infant nutrition.
  • 1889: Lobbying for educational programming across disciplines and strong child labor laws were among the social services when the Hull House was founded by Jane Addams, who believed that holistic education would empower children to be better citizens.
  • 1891: The Columbian College of Dentistry was founded in 1891, and later evolved into the College of Dentistry that became part of the College of Physicians & Surgeons in 1901. The first Medical & Dental College Laboratories Building (now the College of Medicine West Tower) opened in 1930 as 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus. The second Medical & Dental College Laboratories Building opened in 1937 and is now the COM East Tower. After affiliation in 1901, it was chartered as an official UIC college in 1913. Pediatric dentistry clinics now offer a full spectrum of services
  • 1893-1916: The West Side Field was home to the Chicago White Stockings, later the Cubs. The university purchased the property to consolidate its professional colleges and expand its medical education. The west tower of the new medical building was constructed on the approximate site of home plate.
  • 1897: Physicians & Surgeons affiliated with the university as its Department of Medicine.
  • 1913: The College of Physicians & Surgeons was formally incorporated as the College of Medicine when P&S faculty and alumni donated stock to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.
  • 1914: Julius Hess, who designed the first commercially serviceable “incubator” (known throughout the world as the portable “Hess Bed”) and was considered the father of American neonatology, was named head of the pediatrics division in 1914 when pediatrics was part of the department of medicine. When an independent department of pediatrics was established in 1931, he became its first head and held that position until 1944. Dr. Hess’s scientific and clinical partner was Ms. Evelyn Lundeen. Ms. Lundeen headed the first premature nursery in the United States. Beyond her work at the nursery, Lundeen traveled to other locations to teach methods of nursing care for premature infants. With Hess, she also co-authored an early textbook on premature baby care. In 1922 Hess published what may well be the first book dealing solely with premature and congenitally diseased infants; in the preface, he cited the expertise of Martin Courney who turned premature babies into sideshow attractions at amusement parks worldwide as well as the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the 1933 Century of Progress in Chicago. With funding from the Infant’s Aid Society, Dr. Hess opened one of the first infant stations in the United States for low birth-weight babies who had been born at home.
  • 1922-1924: Construction dates for the Research Laboratory & Library Building (now the College of Medicine West), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus.
  • 1922-1925: Construction dates for the General Hospital & Clinical Institute (now Clinical Sciences North), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus.
  • 1923-1926: Construction dates for the Surgical Institute for Crippled Children (later demolished), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus. This structure was part of the Research & Education Hospitals complex of the early campus master plan.
  • 1926-1927: Construction dates for the School of Pharmacy (now the Human Resources Building), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus. Pharmacists are close collaborators within many sections of the Department of Pediatrics in both clinical and research efforts.
  • 1927-1929: Construction dates for the Juvenile Psychopathic Institute, 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus. The building was demolished, but the mission is still being carried on by the Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR). Intended partly to instruct families in the home care of children who were patients at the Surgical Institute, the IJR also fostered interdisciplinary studies of juvenile behavior in existing departments of the College of Medicine.
  • 1928: First pediatric resident, Dr. Henry Poncher.
  • 1928-1930: Construction dates for the Nurses’ Home (now the Medical Center Administration Building), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic
  • 1931: Pediatrics achieves independent departmental status. Dr. Julius Hess is the first head.
  • 1935: Grade A Pasteurization Milk Ordinance was unanimously adopted by the Chicago City Council in 1935. Also in the 1930s, UIC pediatrics participated in a large cohort epidemiology study that established allergic complications of the use of cow’s milk in some infants.
  • 1937: The establishment of the Division of Services for Crippled Children (DSCC) in 1937, under the Maternal & Child Health Services amendment to the Social Security Act, marked the beginning of a long and fruitful affiliation that enhanced both UIC’s pediatrics programs and the care of Division patients. The DSCC came under UIC’s administration in 1957, a year after the creation of the Center for Handicapped Children.
    Also in 1937, a dedication ceremony was held for the WPA funded statue “The Spirit of Medicine Warding-off Disease” by Olga and Edouard Chassaing in the COM quadrangle.
  • 1910 -1938: Construction dates for the Psychiatric Institute & Hospital (now the Neuropsychiatric Institute), 1 of 9 major medical buildings in the historic College Professional Colleges campus. Lore has it that the towers represent the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
  • 1939: Julius Richmond graduated from the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1939 and then joined the faculty and became the Superintendent for the Institute for Juvenile Research where he conducted early childhood development studies. He was appointed as United States Surgeon General in 1977. His academic and political career included overseeing a new program called Project Head Start, sponsoring a series of Neighborhood Health Centers, establishing a Child Health Assurance Program, carrying out immunization campaigns, and criticizing smoking as being a contributor to preventable disease.
    College Professional Colleges campus.
  • 1941: The state legislature created the Illinois Medical District to coordinate medical training, patient care, and research. Governed by 7 appointed commissioners, the IMD is anchored by four hospitals: Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Rush University Medical Center, John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County, and the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. It is the nation’s largest urban medical district.
  • 1944-1952: Henry Poncher was head of the department of pediatrics. The years immediately following World War II were marked by residency training in Illinois expanding far more rapidly than clinical facilities. By rotating pediatric residents to services throughout the state, excellent education was provided as well as healthcare to many Illinois communities. Black physicians were recruited for graduate training under Provident Associates, and full-time instructors were hired.
  • 1949: The establishment of the Cleft Palate Training Program in 1949 integrated efforts that had begun in the 1930s at interdisciplinary teaching, research, and clinical care. This program expanded in 1968 to include children with a broad range of malformations of the head and neck, becoming the Center for Craniofacial Anomalies. This Center became part of the Department of Pediatrics in 1983.
  • 1952-1961: Heyworth Sanford was head of the department of pediatrics.
  • 1960-1983: Economist Joseph Begando was the chancellor of the U of I at the Medical Center, making it one of the largest health science centers in the world.
  • 1961-1972: Irving Schulman was head of the department of pediatrics; the department played a leading role in the development of chemotherapy for children with cancer.
  • 1965-69: Julius Richmond worked in the “Great Society” programs of the Lyndon Johnson administration and founded Head Start and Federally Qualified Health Centers. Head Start grew from the research of Dr. Richmond on pre-schools at Syracuse University and earlier work here at the University of Illinois.
  • 1962-1966: David Broski was chancellor of UIC. He oversaw the construction of the new Outpatient Care Center. He helped double research funding, but resigned abruptly when a federal agency suspended much of the research involving human subjects. The Child & Youth Center now provides well child care and works with subspecialists in more than a dozen pediatric fields to keep each child as healthy as possible.
  • 1967: Although the Hull House settlement complex was demolished to develop UIC’s campus, the original mansion was renovated and turned into a museum in 1967 at 800 S Halsted St that draws on the legacy of Jane Addams (1860-1935) and other social reformers.
  • 1967: The first Mile Square Health Center (MSHC) was founded by Joyce Lashof as a Federally Qualified Health Center as part of efforts to create neighborhood health centers under local control to reduce healthcare inequity. Dr. Lashof became the first woman to head a state public health department when she became IDPH director in 1973, establishing protocols to provide women access to safe abortion in Illinois. MSHC became part of UI Health in 1990, and the current location at Roosevelt & Wood opened in 2014.
  • 1970: After having been situated only in Chicago, the Illinois legislature voted to expand the College of Medicine to three additional sites (Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana) to increase access to care and opportunities to attend medical school.
  • 1972: Expansion of education and research programs included founding of the UIC Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Training Program in 1972.
    Also in 1972, thirty-eight students were admitted to UIC’s School of Public Health as its first class, with maternal and women’s health as among its areas of focus.
  • 1972-1973: Samuel P. Gotoff was acting head of the department of pediatrics.
  • 1973-1982: Ira Rosenthal was head of the department of pediatrics.
  • 1974: As part of a plan completed by the Illinois Committee for Perinatal Health in 1974, five perinatal regions of service were created. High-risk infants and mothers were transported to UIC with guidelines developed collaboratively with the Emergency Medical Service and Highway Safety Department.
  • 1977: Julius Richmond was appointed as US Surgeon General under President Lyndon Johnson and created the Head Start program to bring the promotion of health and human potential to the forefront.
  • 1980: UIC Hospital (now UI Health) opened at 1740 W Taylor St.
  • 1982: The Medical Center and Circle Campus consolidated to form UIC, making it a comprehensive research university. Richard J. Daley worked for nearly 30 years to make his vision of a publicly supported university in Chicago a reality, and he has been quoted as saying he considered UIC to be his greatest achievement in his 21 years as Chicago mayor (1955-76).
  • 1982-1983: Dharmapuri Vidyasagar was acting head of the department of pediatrics. Dr. Vidyasagar retired in 2007 after 35 years of service at UIC. Areas studied by his team include surfactant therapy in premature infants with Hyaline Membrane Disease and the physiologic aspects of Meconium Induced Lung Injury. He also helped build the model for regional neonatal care in the Midwest and established one of the earliest biennial neonatal board review courses.
  • 1984-2004: George Honig was head of the department of pediatrics. Co-founder of the University of Illinois Sickle Cell Center, he published numerous scholarly articles, book chapters on medicine and biomedical sciences, and scientific reports. He also wrote a novel entitled “The Alexandria Letter.”
  • 1990s: UIC pediatrics faculty did seminal work on congenital heart disease diagnosis and repair. Examples of those on the team include Alois R. Hastreiter, who explored the treatment of heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias with digoxin; and Pedro del Nido, whose clinical interests include congenital valve reconstruction and research aims to design technology to facilitate beating heart repair of intra-cardiac defects.
  • 1991: Michael David Bailie was appointed regional dean and professor of the COM in Peoria. He became vice dean of the University of Illinois COM and head of pediatrics at UIC, from which he retired in 2008. He was a prolific writer on such topics as renal function, pharmacology, and electrolyte metabolism.
  • 1991-1995: After serving as interim chancellor of UIC for a year, James Stukel was appointed chancellor in 1991 and served until 1995 when he was named president of the University of Illinois. He concentrated on research, leading to Carnegie Research I status. The Molecular Biology Research Building was opened under his helm.
  • 1992: George Honig founded a program to treat metabolic diseases in children that later expanded across Illinois and continued until his retirement in 2022.
  • 1999: The Outpatient Care Center opened on Taylor, now housing more than 20 primary and specialty care clinics that include the Child & Youth Center.
  • 2002: Eunice John worked together in 2002 with Enrico Benedetti to perform the first pediatric living-donor bowel transplant. Dr. John was also the first Chicago physician to start long-term peritoneal dialysis and use the double lumen catheter for hemodialysis in children in the early 1980s. She retired in 2018 after serving at UIC for 42 years, including as chief of pediatric nephrology and medical director of pediatric transplant.
  • 2003-2004: Kenneth C. Rich was interim head of the department of pediatrics. Under his leadership, UIC was established as a center for care of HIV infected children at the beginning of the perinatal HIV epidemic. This developed into participation in NIH sponsored studies in HIV pathogenesis and treatment, as well as epidemiologic studies of perinatal HIV infection.
  • 2005: The College of Medicine Research Building (COMRB) opened. COMRB now is the home to many laboratories of Department of Pediatrics Faculty in the Section of Developmental Biology & Basic Research.
  • 2008-2015: Usha Raj was head of the department of pediatrics. Highlights of her leadership include establishment of two endowed professorships; re-establishment of bioscience, health services, and clinical research programs; addition of fellowship programs in three new areas; implementation of residency track and specialized curriculums; and the founding of Children’s Hospital University of Illinois.
  • 2011: Children’s Hospital University of Illinois opened as a “hospital within a hospital.” The building at 1740 West Taylor Street was completed in 1980.
  • 2016: Julius Richmond was posthumously honored by the College of Medicine as a distinguished innovator.
  • 2015-present: As head of the department of pediatrics, initiatives of Benjamin Van Voorhees include: development of department as leading location for child health services research; development of multi-disciplinary bioscience research; development of partnerships with Shriners Hospital for Children Chicago, Cook County Health, and Mile Square Health Center; and creation and implementation of population health programs.

2016 University of Illinois College of Medicine Innovation Award Recipient - Barry J. Richmond, MD Hide Heading link