History

After the success of a Jewish genetic disorders symposium in 1997 – coordinated by Children’s Memorial Hospital, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and the Illinois Jewish Genetic Disorders Committee – the idea of continuing a collaborative effort was formed. The trio believed that health education advancements were not paralleling scientific advancements in the field of genetic disorders, especially in Chicago. They decided a Center devoted to gathering and disseminating knowledge about Jewish genetic disorders was crucial. The Center would be one without walls, drawing on the strengths and capabilities of local institutions, organizations, and individuals, making it accessible to everyone. With a three-year grant from the Michael Reese Health Trust, the Chicago Center for Jewish Genetic Disorders was founded in 1999 and hired Karen Litwack as director. An executive committee and advisory board were created to provide oversight for the program. The Center, housed at the Jewish Federation, is a cooperative effort of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, Children’s Memorial Hospital, and the Illinois Jewish Genetic Disorders Committee. Since its inception, the Center has strived to fulfill its mission to educate and serve professionals and the Jewish community.


Children’s Memorial Hospital, a Chicago hospital, was founded in 1882, with the mission of focusing on the needs of children and their families. All of their staff members are trained in pediatrics and their facilities are designed with children in mind. Children’s Memorial Hospital supports loving families, a caring community, and wise policymakers.

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago is Chicago’s largest Jewish philanthropy and supports essential social welfare, educational, cultural, medical, and relief programs for 300,000 people here in Chicago, and two million worldwide.

Illinois Jewish Genetic Disorders Committee is a lay committee of community leaders who have had personal involvement in organizations that support research of Jewish Genetic Disorders.