Provident Hospital unveils new MRI machine

With high-resolution images and quicker results, the MRI machine will be especially helpful in identifying cancers disproportionately affecting Black patients.

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A picture of the new MRI machine at Provident Hospital of Cook County is displayed during a press conference where officials announced the new machine, which is one of Cook County Health’s several investments at Provident Hospital of Cook County.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A new state-of-the-art MRI machine at Bronzeville’s Provident Hospital will help doctors find, diagnose and treat certain cancers more quickly.

The machine was unveiled Friday by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Commissioners Dennis Deer and Bill Lowry, and Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha.

“This is what investment looks like in our communities,” Preckwinkle said. “This new state-of-the-art MRI machine will make it easier for people to get high-quality scans close to home and get their results faster. Ensuring that everyone has access to high-quality medical imaging is essential to getting people to care they need when they need it.”

Provident is a county-run hospital, providing healthcare for many who have nowhere else to go. It was founded in 1890 after Emma Reynolds was denied admission to all of Chicago’s nursing schools because she was Black. Today, many of the hospital’s patients are South Side residents.

“The importance of today cannot be overstated, as it is through MRI testing that the presence or absence of disease or conditions is confirmed,” said Lowry, whose district includes Provident Hospital.

“It is through MRI testing that the severity of strokes is determined,” he said. “It is through MRI testing that breast cancer is often found, and it is through a cervical MRI that it was determined that I had early-stage prostate cancer. That discovery led to a successful surgery and my ability to stand before all of you today as a cancer survivor.”

Rocha noted prostate cancer disproportionately affects Black men. And while Cook County Health performs nearly 6,000 MRIs each year, the new machine will allow even more to be performed with higher resolution and quicker results.

“The MRI scan can detect prostate cancer without the use of any additional probes, making the experience much more comfortable, much more approachable and much [easier] for our patients,” Rocha said.

The MRI machine, which was purchased with a $2 million grant, follows improvements to the hospital’s emergency department and in-patient areas and a new dialysis center that opened last summer.

Cook County Health also received a donation from the National Cancer Institute to continue focusing on evaluating prostate cancer, which is one of the leading causes of cancer-deaths in men in Illinois, Rocha said.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.

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