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Quentin Young Day in Illinois

Press Release - Friday, April 25, 2008

CHICAGO - In his 60-year medical career, Dr. Quentin Young has treated patients including Martin Luther King Jr., Mike Royko and Studs Terkel. He has been doctor to generations of family members. He has walked across the state of Illinois in the name of public health. He has been a constant advocate for patient rights, literally changing the face of medicine in Chicago and throughout the nation.

And though he is hanging up his stethoscope for good, we may all rest assured that Dr. Quentin Young is not finished changing the world.

On Friday, April 25 at 3:15 p.m., Lt. Governor Pat Quinn will honor Dr. Young for his six decades of dedicated service to his patients and for his leadership in public health policy and social justice, declaring April 25, 2008 to be Quentin Young Day throughout the state of Illinois.

"Throughout his long and distinguished career, Quentin Young has stood up for patients everywhere, advocating for what he believed to be right - even when it meant risk to his personal safety or his livelihood," Quinn said at a news conference at the James R. Thompson Center. "Time has consistently shown Quentin Young to be on the right side of history, and his advocacy has bettered his community and the health care industry as a whole."

Born in 1923, Dr. Young served in the U.S. Army during World War II, returning home to Chicago to build a medical career that often marched in lockstep with the trials and triumphs of the city's storied history. He attended Northwestern University Medical School and served his internship and residency at Cook County Hospital where, he says, he spent the most difficult years of his career, experiencing many of the real-life events that would help shape his political and medical thinking.

In 1951, Dr. Young founded the Committee to End Discrimination, which would eventually help to desegregate Chicago hospitals. In 1964 he helped launch the Medical Committee for Human Rights, serving as National Chairman for the group that would become the medical arm of the civil rights movement. He traveled south to march side-by-side with civil rights workers, providing emergency medical care and bearing witness to the struggle.

Serving as personal physician to Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Young marched beside him in 1966 during a peaceful protest in Chicago, treating King's wound when an angry spectator hit him with a rock.

In 1972, already a vocal advocate for public health, Dr. Young was challenged to "put your money where your mouth is." He accepted, and served successfully as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Cook County for the next decade.

Mayor Harold Washington named Dr. Young President of the Chicago Board of Health in 1983, and in 1998 he served as President of the American Public Health Association, the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world.

Dr. Young founded the Chicago-based Health and Medicine Policy Research Group and co-founded the Physicians for a National Health Program. He is the leading authority in Chicago and in the nation on health issues, serving as a regular medical contributor on Chicago Public Radio's "Eight Forty-Eight" and even hosting his own radio show for a time.

In 2001, at the age of 78 years young, he walked with Pat Quinn across the state of Illinois, traveling by foot from Rock Island on the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan in Chicago to promote decent health care for everyone. And last year, Dr. Young traveled with Lt. Governor Quinn to the American military hospital in Landstuhl Germany, delivering holiday cards from Illinois school children to soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As a patient of Dr. Young's, I can say first hand that he is a doctor we can all trust to continue advocating for us even in his retirement," Quinn said. "We want to congratulate Dr. Quentin Young on a career filled with personal and professional successes. And we want to thank him for all he has done to make the world a better place."

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