As a child, Judith Eileen Hicks really looked up to her aunt, a nurse. She wanted to follow in her footsteps, so she obtained a Bachelor of Science in nursing from St. Xavier University in 1969 and a Master of Science in nursing from the University of Illinois in 1971. She then set out to make her own mark on the field. Ms. Hicks proceeded to join Mercy Hospital as a staff nurse, and the rest is history. She was promoted to nursing supervisor after a year in her original role and only continued growing from there. Her next positions included continuing education consultant at the Illinois Nurses Association, director of obstetrics-gynecology nursing at Prentice Women’s Hospital and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, vice president of nursing at Children’s Memorial Hospital, and president of Children’s Memorial Home Health, Inc., and Children’s Memorial Nursing Services. She continues to serve as the chief executive officer of Beechwood Health Solutions, LLC, to this day.
One of the highlights of Ms. Hicks’ career was being part of the creation of Focus Health Solutions, a chronic care management business. The organization worked with self-insured employers, and by the time they were sold, they had approximately 40,000 individuals receiving services. Since Focus Health Solutions was a subsidiary of the children’s hospital, the money from the sale went to them. It ended up becoming instrumental in a major expansion project: the founding of a new hospital, Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Outside of her professional endeavors, Ms. Hicks has been very active in her community. She is a member of the American Society of Nursing Administrators, the Women’s Health Executive Network, and the Illinois Hospital Association, as well as a member of the board of trustees of Autism Home Support Services. She has also served on the board of directors of La Casa Norte, as the president of the Pediatrics Excellence Program Service, and as the director of Near North Health Corp. over the years.
In recognition of her hard work and dedication, Ms. Hicks was honored with The George Kennedy Distinguished Service Award from Lurie Children’s Hospital in 2018, the Esperanza Award from La Casa Norte in 2017, and the Nursing Alumni of Year Award from St. Xavier University in 2007, among many other accolades. Notably, she was a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young in 2004 and the winner of the award in 2006.