Mile Square celebrates anniversary, award winners

Honors Awards

UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis (right) presents the Chancellor’s Medallion to U.S. Rep. Danny Davis during the UI Health Mile Square gala. (Photo: Elizabeth Monge)

“Health means wealth,” U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said during an awards dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UI Health Mile Square Health Center Nov. 3.

Mile Square, a network of 12 federally qualified health centers, is one of the oldest community health centers in Chicago. Serving approximately 40,000 people throughout the Chicago area, Mile Square provides comprehensive medical and dental care, mental health support and social services, regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

The awards dinner honored those who have demonstrated a steadfast commitment to improving the health and well-being of Chicago’s underserved and underinsured communities.

Davis received the Chancellor’s Medallion, the university’s top honor, for his service and leadership improving the global community. UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis presented the award.

“We are here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mile Square, but also to recognize members in our community who have demonstrated a personal, passionate and tireless commitment to serving the health care needs of Chicago’s most vulnerable women, men and children in the city’s underserved communities,” Amiridis said.

“The Chancellor’s Medallion honors individuals whose extraordinary service and leadership in the world serves to remind us all that each one of us has the power to make a difference.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin was also honored at the dinner.

“When political decisions are made and political are values created, they are reflected in our public health system,” Durbin said. “I came to understand that when I met with Dr. Robert Winn, who shared some alarming statics about health disparities right here in Chicago.”

Durbin noted the 16-year difference in average life expectancy between residents of West Garfield Park and those who live on the Near North Side, just a few miles away.

“In Illinois, 1.3 million people receive primary care, dental and behavioral health care in sites like Mile Square. Since 1967, Mile Square has been providing community-based care for Chicagoans, cancer screening, flu shots, and specialty care for HIV and AIDS,” Durbin said.

“That’s an amazing story.”

Six Community Health Excellence Awards were also presented. Recipients included: 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; and Robert Winn, associate vice chancellor of community-based practice at UIC and director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, Community Health Innovator Award.

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