President Preckwinkle Nominates Five for Posts on Health and Hospitals System’s Governing Board

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced five nominees to the governing board of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS).

The five are Sidney Thomas, Mary Driscoll, Mary Richardson-Lowry, Dr. Virginia Bishop and Layla P. Suleiman Gonzalez. The nominees will be presented to the Cook County Board of Commissioners at their meeting today, then considered by the Board’s Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee with a final vote anticipated at the Board’s July 13 meeting.

The nominees – who will fill two vacancies and three expiring terms -- were chosen by Preckwinkle from a pool of candidates sent to her by a 14-member nominating committee. The committee’s membership is composed of various civic, medical/healthcare-related and labor stakeholder organizations as set out in County ordinance.

The committee is tasked with sending three candidates for each vacancy to President Preckwinkle, who then selects a nominee for each vacancy for Board consideration.

“I am grateful to members of the nominating committee for their hard work in finding excellent candidates to lead the Health and Hospitals System at this important time,” President Preckwinkle said. “The due diligence they have shown in selecting potential CCHHS Directors is admirable, and their dedication to this task is clear from the quality of candidates they have presented.”

CCHHS Directors act as the governing authority for the Health and Hospitals System. They have operational and managerial authority of CCHHS, and recommend and submit to the President and the County Board strategic and financial plans for the system.

Directors serve without pay. They are accountable to the President and the County Board of Commissioners. “CCHHS is transforming itself into a healthcare organization of choice, with outstanding clinical and specialty care, and a greatly improved patient experience,” Preckwinkle said. “I am confident these nominees will join the other CCHHS Directors and, working together with the CCHHS administrative team, successfully lead the system in confronting the ever-changing landscape in the public health arena.”

CCHHS is one of the largest public health care systems in the United States, providing a range of health care services regardless of a patient's ability to pay. CCHHS serves approximately 300,000 unique patients annually through more than one million outpatient visits and more than 20,000 inpatient hospital admissions.
The candidates for Director named by Preckwinkle boast wide and varied backgrounds in healthcare, academic and civic involvement:

Sidney Thomas
Thomas is a Chicago-based independent consultant who formerly worked for CCHHS in a variety of capacities including as Director of Provider Relations, responsible for external relationships with Federally Qualified Health Centers, hospitals and other providers of health-related services; and as Chief Operating Officer of Provident Hospital.

His areas of qualifications include healthcare management, employee relations, public administration, community public health, labor relations and patient experience.

He received his B.A. from Beloit College and a Master’s in Social Work from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Thomas is being nominated for a four-year term.

Mary Driscoll
Driscoll is a retired administrator with the Illinois Department of Public Health, where she served as Chief of the Division of Patient Safety and Quality. Previous to that she was Director of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for the Cook County Bureau of Health Services-Ambulatory and Community Health Network. Earlier in her career she worked at Cook County Hospital in various capacities, and as a nurse.

Her areas of qualifications include healthcare management, clinical medicine, community public health and public health policy, patient experience and civil/minority rights advocacy.

She received her B.A. from the University of Illinois, a B.S. in Nursing from Northwestern University and her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Illinois. Driscoll is being nominated for a term expiring in 2017.

Mary Richardson-Lowry
Richardson-Lowry was appointed to a vacancy as a CCHHS Director by President Preckwinkle last year. She is an attorney, a former partner in the Mayer Brown law firm, a director with the Chicago Community Trust Director, and is a former president of the Chicago Board of Education.

At Mayer Brown, she specialized in private and public sector commercial transactions, governance, regulatory and government relations. Prior to joining Mayer Brown, she was Chicago’s Building Commissioner.
Her areas of qualifications include finance, legal and regulatory affairs, public administration, public health policy, and civil/minority rights advocacy.

She received her B.A. from San Francisco University, and her Law Degree from Texas Southern Law School.  Richardson-Lowry is being nominated for a four-year term.

Dr. Virginia Bishop
Dr. Bishop is a practicing physician and an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine Program in Public Health. She has more than 20 years of experience in public health, child and adolescent medicine, and community-based research. She also has extensive involvement with governmental partners, regulatory agencies, scientists and key opinion leaders.

Her areas of qualifications include clinical medicine, community public health and public health policy, patient experience, civil/minority rights advocacy, community education and community participation research.

She received her B.S. from Loyola University, her Master’s in Public Health from George Washington University’s School of Medicine and her Medical Degree from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Bishop is being nominated for a term expiring in 2018.

Layla P. Suleiman Gonzalez
Gonzalez is senior advisor to the CEO of Aunt Martha’s Youth Service Center and Health Center. An attorney, she has been an advocate, policymaker, professor and evaluator, advancing access and equity for Latinos and other minority groups for almost 30 years. Her practice and scholarship focus on capacity building, performance management and civil/human approaches to health and human services.

Her areas of qualifications include healthcare management, public administration, community public health and public health policy, civil/minority rights advocacy and community representation.

She received her B.S. and Ph.D. from Loyola University, and her Law Degree from DePaul University College of Law. Gonzales is being nominated for a four-year term.


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