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Silver Cross Executive Receives Gold Award Star from the National Hook-Up of Black Women

Joliet, IL (Nov. 29, 2010)—The Joliet Chapter of the National Hook-Up for Black Women, Inc. (NHBW)  recently awarded the Gold Star Award for Health to Ruth Colby, Senior Vice President Business Development for Silver Cross Hospital, at the NHBW’s 19th Annual Founder’s Day and Gold Star Gala on November 27 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Joliet.

The Gold Star Award program celebrates NHBW’s founder, Dr. Arnita Young Boswell, while honoring individuals in the community who have given their time and talent to improve the lives of the residents of the community.

ruth-awardPHOTO: Lou Ann Johnson, President  of Joliet’s National Hook-Up of Black Women presents Ruth Colby, Senior Vice President Business Development for Silver Cross Hospital, and Gwen Ulmer, member of National Hook-Up for Black Women, with the National Hook-Up for Black Women’s Gold Star Award for Health at the NHBW’s Gold Star Gala on November 27.

“We are pleased to award Ruth Colby the Gold Star Award for Health for her many contributions to improve the health and quality of life of the residents of Joliet’s eastside,” said Lou Ann Johnson, President of Joliet’s National Hook-Up of Black Women. “Through her work in establishing the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, many organizations, like NHBW, have been able to award scholarships to several area students. Further, Ruth put together the team that created the NHBW and Silver Cross Reading Room to improve the literacy levels of area children. Her outstanding leadership and dedication exemplifies the mission of NHBW. NHBW is honored to recognize Ruth with the Gold Star Award for Health.”

Ruth Colby is the chief strategy officer and senior vice president of business development at Silver Cross Hospital—a 100 Top Hospital National Award winner for the past 6 years.  She has successfully challenged her organization to push the boundaries, developing strategic alliances with academic medical centers (including the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and University of Chicago Medical Center), area physicians, and community organizations. 

In 2008, Ruth worked with the team at Silver Cross Hospital to obtain state approval for a 289-bed replacement hospital that will ensure quality healthcare for future generations. As part of this project, she was instrumental in developing an innovative approach to addressing the healthcare, economic, and social needs of Joliet’s East-side neighborhoods. She worked with local leaders to create the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides independent oversight of the hospital’s ongoing commitment to the community and campus re-development. Over the past two years, the Commission has provided more than $200,000 in grants and scholarships to several local organizations and agencies including the National Hook-Up of Black Women (NHBW), Building Bridges Program, Joliet Junior College, Will County Workforce Investment Board’s Work Certified program, Joliet Community Action Network Male Mentoring Program, NAACP, Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sororities, Harvey Brooks Foundation, Forest Park Community Center, Spanish Center and the Hispanic Coalition of Will and Grundy Counties. In addition, Ruth was involved with the hospital’s team to bring a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center to the Joliet campus.  This team is also working towards bringing a Veteran’s Outpatient Clinic to this campus to provide much needed services for all the residents of Will County.  She has also worked on the efforts to partner with the University of Chicago Medical Center to build a state-of-the-art cancer center opening in 2012 and the first freestanding emergency center licensed by the State of Illinois now open in Homer Glen.

As a community advocate, it was Ruth’s vision that led her team to the creation of the NHBW and Silver Cross Reading Room. Through this partnership, over the past year more than 4,000 books have been collected and distributed to 1,800 children and adults in the Joliet community through the Reading Room, day care centers, churches and community events.   

With over 25 years of business development and health care experience, Ruth previously served as a Senior Vice President at Solucient, LLC, the leading source of health care business intelligence.  She also served as the Vice President of Business Development at the University of Chicago Health System and Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago.  Ruth received her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, and also a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation from New York University.  She attended Northwestern University earning a Bachelor of Speech degree.  

As a member of several professional and service organizations, Ruth currently serves on the board of directors of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights.  She is a past president of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development where she received the Society’s 2009 Award for Individual Professional Excellence. And in 1993, she was named as the Uptown Chamber of Commerce Athena Award recipient and Outstanding Business Woman of the Year. 

About National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. (NHBW, Inc.)
The National Hook-Up of Black Women, Inc. Joliet Chapter is a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable community service organization dedicated to improving the lives of families through support of the arts, culture, health, education, and human services programs. NHBW provides free programs, health and wellness seminars and clinics for the community with the help of local hospitals and physicians. The Joliet Chapter was established in October 1991 and is supported by membership dues, donations and fundraisers. All programs and services are presented to the community at no cost. 

The NHBW was conceived by a group of women that recognized the need to establish a communications network between women’s organizations and the Congressional Black Caucus. The NHBW, Inc. was founded in 1974 by a small group of spirited women during the fourth Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend. These Black women met in a hotel room and organized a national forum to articulate the needs and concerns of women and children. For more information, visit

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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