Mile Square celebrates 50 years serving Chicago communities

Mile Square Health Center main location at 1220 S. Wood St. (Click on image for larger file.)

Mile Square Health Center’s main location, 1220 S. Wood St. 

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System will kick off the 50th anniversary of its Mile Square Health Center network of 12 federally-qualified heath centers with a community awards dinner on Nov. 3.

The Community Health Excellence Awards dinner will honor the men and women who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to improving the health and well-being of Chicago’s underserved and underinsured communities, and will serve as a springboard for identifying and supporting future innovations in patient care.

“Health care has evolved rapidly over the last 50 years,” says Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “However, while we know more today about disease prevention and treatment than ever before, the barriers to care for many of our communities are still pervasive, creating intolerable disparities in health outcomes.

“Mile Square Health Center stands as an exceptional example of the power of collaboration to eliminate those barriers,” Barish said. “Without the support of our elected officials, advocacy groups and members of the community, our ability to impact the lives of our communities would be reduced. It’s a privilege to recognize the individuals who have helped make a difference.”

Founded in 1967, Mile Square is one of the oldest community health centers in Chicago. Serving approximately 40,000 people throughout the Chicago area, for more than 100,000 clinic visits each year, Mile Square provides comprehensive medical and dental care, mental health support and social services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

“For thousands of Chicago residents, Mile Square Health Center is more than a local clinic—it’s a safe place for individuals and families to access life saving vaccines, screenings, medicines and care,” said Henry Taylor, executive director of Mile Square. “We are very proud of our legacy of providing comprehensive, cost-effective and compassionate care to high-risk, vulnerable communities. We stand firm in our resolve to improve the health outcomes for Chicago residents regardless of their financial and social situations, and we are grateful to our community partners who help us make dramatic strides in establishing health equity.”

In 2014, Mile Square became the first federally-funded health center in the Chicago area to offer urgent care and specialty care, including mammography services, when the network opened a new 122,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in the Illinois Medical District.

“Providing specialty care through our Mile Square clinics was a step forward in our mission to reduce and eliminate the health disparities affecting our communities,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor for community-based practice at UIC and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

“But even as we celebrate 50 years of progress, we remain motivated by the needs of our communities and the heavy burden of risk they carry for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and early mortality,” Winn said. “Not only do we need to continue expanding access to quality care, we also need to ensure that African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Chinese Americans and people of all walks of life have the opportunity to participate in academic, clinical research, as they do through Mile Square and UIC, so that future preventive strategies, treatments and cures really reflect who we are as a nation.”

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis will attend the awards dinner and receive the Chancellor’s Medallion—UIC’s most distinguished honor—for his service and leadership improving the global community. This is only the third Chancellor’s Medallion to be presented by the University.

In recognition of the congressman’s long-time support of Mile Square, the University is also introducing the Danny K. Davis Pathfinder Award, to honor elected officials for forging paths to quality care for people in need. U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin is first recipient of the new award and has been invited to attend the dinner.

Recipients of other awards include:

2016 Community Health Excellence Award winners

2016 Community Health Excellence Awards winners and honorees (left to right): Heather Higgins Alderman, U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, Ricardo Estrada, Sandy Goldberg, Dr. Kameron Matthews and Dr. Robert Winn. Not pictured: U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Edna Pearce.

  • Heather Higgins Alderman, president of the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation – Community Health Champion Award  
  • Ricardo Estrada, member of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services – Community Health Roadmap to Excellence Award   
  • Sandy Goldberg, PhD, chairman and founder of A Silver Lining Foundation and health and nutrition consultant at NBC5 Chicago – Community Health Innovator Award
  • Dr. Kameron Matthews, chief medical officer of Mile Square Health Center – Community Health Roadmap to Excellence Award
  • Edna Pearce, member of the Mile Square Health Center Community Board – Community Health Pioneer Award
  • Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor of community-based practice at UIC and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center – Community Health Innovator Award

The dinner will take place at Mile Square’s main clinic at 1220 S. Wood St. from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to purchase tickets to the dinner. Ticket sales, voluntary donations and more information are available online.

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System is a public, academic medical center committed to providing the highest quality care for all patients and reducing health disparities. Located in the Illinois Medical District on Chicago’s West Side, UI Health is a leader in patient care, research and education, and serves as the primary teaching facility for the UIC College of Medicine, the largest medical school in the U.S. The system includes seven health sciences colleges, a 495-bed hospital, the 101-bed Children’s Hospital of the University of Illinois, an outpatient care center and 12 federally-qualified Mile Square Health Centers located throughout Chicago, including the Mile Square Urgent Care Center.

More on UI Health