Mile Square celebrates 50 years serving Chicago communities

2016 Community Health Excellence Award winners

2016 Community Health Excellence Awards winners (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: Edna Pearce.

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 Thursday.

The Community Health Excellence Awards dinner will honor those who have demonstrated a 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,” said Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs. “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.”

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.

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 Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor for community-based practice at UIC and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center.

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. The honor is only the third Chancellor’s Medallion presented by the university.

In recognition of the congressman’s longtime 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 the first recipient of the award.

Recipients of other awards include:

  • 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, chairman and founder of A Silver Lining Foundation and health and nutrition consultant at NBC5 Chicago – Community Health Innovator Award
  • 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
  • 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; purchase tickets online.

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