Northwestern Medicine Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital celebrates 50 years

In 1972, Northwestern Medicine Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital accepted its first patient as a rehabilitation hospital.

Over the past 50 years, Marianjoy has continued to evolve using the latest technology and innovative evidence-based treatments to maximize recovery and enhance patient independence.

At the core of this care has remained a firm commitment to providing exceptional patient-centered care.

Before opening its doors, the hospital concept was developed by the Franciscan Sisters, Daughters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Wheaton.

The facility, originally built in the late 1960s, began as a care space for the Franciscan Sisters. In 1971, local doctors met with the Franciscan nuns to discuss turning Marian Joy into a hospital for physical medicine and rehabilitation. At the time, there were only two rehabilitation hospitals in Illinois.

Today, Marianjoy offers clinical programs dedicated to brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, orthopedic, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, neurological and pediatric conditions.

Each year, more than 25,000 patients receive Marianjoy’s inpatient and outpatient care and physician services.

“Over the years, Mariangwi has helped advance the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation within our communities and in the field at large,” says Ann Hopling, MD, chief nursing officer at Northwestern Medicine Mariangwi Rehabilitation Hospital. “Marianjoy is also very rooted in the first mission of Northwestern Medicine patients. The people who work here are driven by that and our patients feel that.”


In March 2016 – 44 years after Marianjoy first opened – Marianjoy became part of Northwestern Medicine. Since then, the 125-bed hospital has experienced a major expansion in technology and innovation.

Tellabs Neurological Rehabilitation and Neuroplasticity Center opened in September 2016.

The center introduces innovative technologies, such as robotic exoskeletons, virtual reality and other devices, that take advantage of the guiding principles of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change or heal in response to experiences. Combined with evidence-based approaches, the technology can positively impact the functional recovery of patients who have experienced stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions.

In 2017, the Aphasia Center was created to address the long-term challenges of aphasia – a communication disorder that results from damage to parts of the brain that control language.

Led by a speech-language pathologist with expertise in language disorders, small group sessions provide a comfortable and supportive environment for participants to practice their skills through real-life activities.

“People come to Marian Joy to recover after a traumatic or unexpected event in their lives,” said Mahesh Ramachandran, chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine Mariangwi. “It is rewarding to see patients progressing from their severe limitations to improved functional ability and a better quality of life.”

To learn more about Northwestern Medicine Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, visit

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