Sharon O'Keefe Joins Board of American Red Cross of Greater Chicago

February 14, 2013

University of Chicago Medical Center President Sharon O'Keefe has been named to the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, effective immediately.

Her expertise in operational excellence and health care, as well as her dedication to the community, will help guide the strategic direction of the local chapter of the national organization, which first mobilized as a Chicago group to help the victims of the 1915 Eastland disaster, in which 844 people lost their lives in the Chicago River.

"I'm honored to be invited to the board to serve the citizens of Chicago in promoting health, safety and disaster preparedness," O'Keefe said.

Part of her focus will be on building partnerships with state and local governments, and serving as a Red Cross ambassador throughout the Chicago region.

"We are so proud to welcome Sharon O'Keefe to the Board of Directors. She's a community leader who has a long history of engagement with the nonprofit community," said Fran Edwardson, chief executive for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

A Chicago native, O'Keefe is also on the board of Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) and co-chair of the American Heart Association's 2013 Go Red for Women Campaign to help fight heart disease in women. She is a member of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Chicago and also sits on the National Institutes of Health Advisory Board for Clinical Research.

O'Keefe was appointed an examiner for the U.S. Department of Commerce's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2005. She serves on the Illinois Hospital Association Board of Trustees and the University Healthcare Consortium Board.

Since coming to the University of Chicago in early 2011, O'Keefe has spearheaded the opening later this month of the new Center for Care and Discovery. The 1.2 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, with 240 private patient rooms, will be one of the most advanced clinical and surgical centers in the country dedicated to specialty care, including cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, advanced surgery and high-tech medical imaging.

The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, which is a major supplier of blood to the University of Chicago Medical Center, has more than 4,000 dedicated volunteers that serve the needs of more than 9.6 million people in Northeastern Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Its mission is to provide shelter, food and emotional support to victims of disaster.

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