Silver Cross president and CEO named New Lenox’s Citizen of the Year

Ruth Colby: ‘Since 2005, it’s been the most amazing journey for me personally.’

Silver Cross Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Ruth Colby, left, was named New Lenox Citizen of the Year at the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner Feb. 15. She’s pictured here with New Lenox Chamber CEO Emily Johnson.

The New Lenox Chamber of Commerce’s named Ruth Colby as the New Lenox Citizen of the Year at the chamber’s annual dinner on Feb. 15.

Colby is the president and chief executive officer of Silver Cross Hospital, which opened its New Lenox campus in 2012, according to a news release from Silver Cross Hospital. Colby has served as president and CEO since 2017, the release said.

Emily Johnson’s introduction of Colby was met with a standing ovation, the release said. Johnson is the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce’s CEO.

“The New Lenox Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award is presented to an individual in our community that has a passion for good work and serves as an inspiration to others,” Johnson said in the release. “Ruth Colby embodies those qualifications through her leadership, business acumen, and compassion. As President and CEO of Silver Cross, she has been an integral part of making New Lenox a true healthcare destination. We are so fortunate to have Silver Cross Hospital, an award-winning institution, in our community; but beyond that, we are thankful to have Ruth Colby at its helm.”

When accepting the award, Colby said she didn’t know anyone in Will County when she began working at Silver Cross 17 years, the release said.

“Since 2005, it’s been the most amazing journey for me personally, with the highlight being recognized so unexpectedly, this evening by the New Lenox Chamber of Commerce,” Colby said in the release.

Colby listed some of Silver Cross’ accomplishments, which included more than 12,000 people who toured the hospital before Silver Cross began admitting patients in its New Lenox location, the release said.

Silver Cross has since served more than 250,000 patients in that location – with 1,900 of them being New Lenox residents in 2022 alone – and approximately 25 million outpatients in more than 11 years. Colby said in the release.

In addition, nearly 400 medical staff members and employees live in New Lenox, Colby said in the release.

“I want you to know that my colleagues and I wake up every morning with the desire to far exceed your expectations: to provide safe care, confirmed by 16 straight A’s for patient safety; to ensure outstanding outcomes as noted by our 10th time on the 100 Top Hospitals list; and to be there when you need us most, whether it’s at the Kurtz and Vana Family Emergency Pavilion or at one of our urgent care centers in New Lenox and Mokena,” Colby said in the release.

Colby joined Silver Cross in 2005 as its senior vice president and chief strategy officer. She helped develop strategic partnerships with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, University of Chicago Medicine for cancer services and neurosciences, Rush University Medical Center for lung surgery and Lurie Children’s Hospital for pediatric services, Silver Cross said.

Under Colby’s leadership, Silver Cross also opened the Amy, Matthew and Jay Vana Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Will County’s first and only Level III NICU, in August 2022. Colby worked with US HealthVest to build a 110-bed behavioral health hospital on the Silver Cross Campus, Silver Cross said.

She chairs the Will County Center for Economic Development, is on the board of the Will County Children’s Advocacy Center and serves as chair-elect of the Illinois Hospital Association, the release said.

Colby is also a member of the United Way of Will County Pillars Society, the Joliet Rotary Club and the Economic Club of Chicago, Silver Cross said.

She received the 2021 Athena Award from the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Colby was named as one of Crain’s 2019 Notable Women in Healthcare and Notable Women Executives over age 50, Silver Cross said.

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