Ruth Rothstein

1923–August 4, 2013

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Ruth Rothstein until we are able to commission a full entry.

Public health activist Ruth Rothstein, 1995.

As chief of Cook County Bureau of Health Services, Ruth Rothstein helped Chicago hospitals create a better safety net for the disadvantaged. By the age of eleven in Depression-era Brooklyn, she regularly accompanied her father to union meetings and rallied crowds on street corners, the beginning of a lifelong commitment to helping others. By 18, she was organizing unions. After moving to Chicago, she became interested in health care and, using her union experience, created the position of personnel director for Jackson Park Hospital. As a woman in the 1960s in the male field of hospital administration, Rothstein faced significant resistance from male employers and colleagues. She applied for a post at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, but was told that they would rather hire a man and that her lack of a college degree made her unfit for the position. She persisted, and six years later was president of the hospital, helping resuscitate Mt. Sinai and turning it into an integral part of its West Side community. She went on to establish thirty outpatient clinics in Chicago and continued working until the age of eighty.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Rothstein." (Viewed on May 22, 2024) <>.