Health Care Hall of Fame Past Inductees
Sister Irene Kraus
Inducted in 1996
Sister Irene Kraus was a unique executive. She was known to dress up as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny to cheer up women in a nursing home or children in a pediatric unit. Kraus became the first woman chair of the American Hospital Association in 1980, and she proclaimed at the time, “Call me Madame Chairman. I didn't work this hard to get here and have my title changed” to chairperson or chairwoman. Kraus also spent time as chairman of the Catholic Health Association in 1972 and 1973. But Kraus is best remembered as the founding president and CEO of the Daughters of Charity National Health System. She had first joined the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul congregation in 1941 at the age of 17; she would remain a part of the Daughters of Charity for 54 years.She spent 1942 through 1949 as an elementary and high school teacher before entering the healthcare fray when she turned her attention to nursing. Her focus was always on the poor and underprivileged.