The Provident Foundation
1525 East 53rd Street
Suite #451
Chicago, IL 60615

  • Provident Hospital: A Living Legacy

    In recognition of Black History Month and the 125th Anniversary of the founding of Provident Hospital, we are excited to announce the opening of "Provident Hospital: A Living Legacy." This custom exhibit brings to life the Legacy of Provident Hospital and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams through rarely displayed artifacts and photos from the hospital and training school's history.

    Opening Friday, February 19th, 2016
    International Musuem of Surgical Science
    1524 Lake Shore Dr
    Chicago, IL 60610

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  • Attending Physicians and Interns see their patients on rounds at Provident Hospital.

    In 1998, the Chicago Reporter released an analysis showing that only 7% of the city’s physicians are black. 2013 data from AAMC shows only 7% of medical school enrollees are black while making up 13% of the U.S. population.

    African-American's suffer a great disparity in health outcomes. Black physicians affect this disparity by serving in underserved areas. Patients who have a physician or nurse of the same race show improved compliance and patient satisfaction.

    The Provident Foundation has the goal to develop pipeline programs to help guide African Americans into careers as Physicians, Nurses and Health Professionals. The Foundation continues to fundraise to distribute scholarships to those in need.

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  • Student Nurses learn about different surgical instruments at the Provident Hospital

    In 1889, Emma Reynolds was denied admission by each of Chicago's nursing schools on the grounds that she was black. Her brother, the Reverend Louis Reynolds, pastor of St. Stephen's African Methodist Episcopal Church, approached the respected black surgeon, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams for help. Unable to influence the existing schools, they decided to launch a new nursing school for black women.

    The Provident Foundation strives to maintain the history of Provident Hospital and their training schools and preserve the legacy of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams and Emma Reynolds. We have an exhibit at Chicago State University where more of the history can be seen

    Read the History

An Attending Physician goes through the Intricacies of Reading and X-ray

The Medical Miracles exhibit was created by the Provident Foundation and includes this photograph and many others seen on this website. The exhibit showcases the history and remarkable legacy of Provident Hospital. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who performed the first open heart surgery in 1893, founded Provident Hospital & Training School on the south side of Chicago in 1891.

For more than a century Provident Hospital survived as a private community facility serving those in need of healthcare. Through two World Wars, race riots and national epidemics, thousands of Chicagoans were treated within its walls.

The exhibit is currently maintained at Chicago State University

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Letter from James Myles

While driving past the old Provident Hospital building at 436 East 51st Street before its demolition, my visual perception of what was left of the edifice caused my heart to lament over the history that took place in that structure until it was replaced with the new building in the late 1970s.

It was an emotional experience for me, and my mind traveled back to my childhood when I was taken to Provident Hospital for medical attention. I recall a caring staff of nurses and doctors who made me proud because they looked like me. Three of my four children were born at Provident, and the Hospital always occupied a very important place in our family history. So, coming to terms with the reality that the “old” Provident Hospital was coming down was not an easy pill for me to swallow.

The Chicago Lying- In Hospital once occupied the seven-story building. The maternity ward where my children and so many Chicago African Americans were born was on the 5th floor. The clinics that my mother took me to were housed in an adjoining four-story building. Far more important than the great space was the majestic Provident staff of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Provident had by 1939, ninety doctors on staff, thirty nurses and forty-five nursing students. Serving African Americans and others in need of healthcare, Provident Hospital provided services at a time when most hospitals in Chicago would not treat African Americans. The late Betty Gross, a head nurse at Provident’s pediatrics department in 1948 summed it up this way, “Working at Provident was a privilege. It was our hospital.”

Yes, it was ours. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, Emma Reynolds and many others were the trailblazers, who paved the way for many giants in the medical field, Dr. Leonidas Berry, Dr. John Coleman, Dr. Walter Johnson, Dr. Clyde Reynolds, and Dr. Robert Stepto to name a few. Reviewing the history of Provident Hospital made my heart feel better.

The mission of the Provident Foundation is to do just that—to continue to passionately ensure the future health of our community. Yes, the building that opened its doors fully to the African American community is gone but as the wrecking ball struck its final blows, the legacy of the historical Provident Hospital and Training School lives on!

James W. Myles
Co-Founder the late James W. Myles (1937-2012)
Provident Foundation President