Hektoen is a nonprofit health service, educational, and research organization that administers grant awards on behalf of community organizations, independent investigators, and institutions working to improve care and resources for patients. Through program implementation, educational programming, fiscal management, and grant administration, Hektoen addresses some of the most pressing health concerns facing underserved populations in Chicago and throughout the world, including: domestic violence, substance use, and mental health; HIV care and support services; community development; early intervention; and a diverse array of other services.



The Hektoen Institute was founded in 1943 by a group of prominent Cook County physicians as a venue for funding and conducting medical research and education. Until 1990, It was located in the Cook County Hospital of Chicago, where its investigators carried out research in many different areas of medicine. They made seminal contributions to the disciplines of liver disease, gastroenterology, urology, cardiology, and renal diseases, resulting in the publication of more than 2,700 scientific papers. They also advanced medical education by means of lectures, symposia, and fellowships. Through its Morris Friedell mentorship, it enabled young talented persons from the inner city of Chicago to work in its laboratories and later enter successful careers in medicine, physiology, science, and even space travel.

Emphasis shifted in the 1990s with the advent of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, prompting efforts to address the vast unmet needs faced by Chicago’s underserved populations. Hektoen supported research in HIV treatment and the epidemiological aspects of the disease. In addition to promoting research though its primary role in administering funding for HIV/AIDS care, it became active in programs to prevent domestic violence, further women’s health, and sponsor other public health programs benefiting Chicago’s most vulnerable. It carries out a variety of medical and nursing educational programs, publishes a widely read international medical humanities journal, supports the activities of voluntary clinics, and is expanding its reach through programs with international educational institutions.

The Institute is named after Ludvig Hektoen, professor of pathology at Cook County Hospital and Rush Medical College, who made many advances in science and was considered one of the first to devote himself prominently and consistently to the science of medicine. Today the Institute continues to advance its mission of improving the care of the sick. It provides the administrative infrastructure for a portfolio of grant-funded programs on behalf of local government agencies, principal investigators, and nonprofit organizations. Its programs provide ground-breaking research and basic health services designed to improve health outcomes for all.