, IL — On October 24, 1921, President Warren G. Harding dedicated the newly opened Edward Hines, Jr. Memorial Hospital, the first American Veterans' hospital to be named in a person's honor.
One hundred years later, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital is Illinois’ largest and oldest operating Veterans Administration Hospital, providing care to tens of thousands of patients annually.
"For a century, Hines VA Hospital has cared for our nation's Veterans," said James Doelling, Hospital Director. "That's 100 years of the men and women who served our country trusting us to serve them. For me, it's the greatest honor to be just a small part of that continuing legacy of care."
Originally farmland, a racetrack and a favorite airfield of Charles Lindbergh, the land now used by Hines VA was donated by Edward Hines, Sr., to construct a Veterans hospital in honor of his son Edward Hines, Jr., who died during World War One.
A leader of patient care since its opening, Hines established the first VA-funded tumor research laboratory in 1932 and VA's first Blind Rehabilitation Center in 1948. In 1952, Hines' Dr. Robert Schrek published his revolutionary study linking cigarette smoking to cancer.
To meet the growing need of Veterans, Hines opened its 15-story main hospital in 1970 and six community-based outpatient clinics beginning in the mid-1990s.
Now one of the nation's most extensive VA facilities, Hines continues to serve Veterans with groundbreaking research in cancer treatments, prosthetics, pulmonology, transplant services and more. Hines VA's primary care program is ranked second in the nation for VA quality of care.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hines VA has cared for thousands of patients and was among the first hospitals in the nation to adopt respiratory helmets to help treat severe COVID-19 cases. Hines VA was also the first VA hospital in Illinois to offer COVID-19 vaccination.
"Our hospital is named for a World War One Soldier who never came home, so we may care for those who did, bearing the scars of service, both seen and unseen," said Doelling. “Hines has brought a century of care to this community. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 years will bring.”
As part of its 100-year celebration, Hines VA Hospital will hold a virtual tree dedication and time capsule planting on October 22, 2021, at 11 a.m.; and the premiere of its virtual 100th Anniversary Celebration event on October 24, 2021, at noon. Due to COVID-19, attendance is virtual-only and will be live-streamed on Hines VA's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HinesVAHospital
About Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, located 12 miles west of downtown Chicago on a 147-acre campus, offers primary, extended and specialty care to veteran patients in the Chicago area. We are the largest VA in the state of Illinois, where more than a million veterans reside. The hospital treats more than 44,000 veterans from World War II through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.