Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

At Mile Square Health Center, we believe that everybody deserves high-quality healthcare. We also believe that it’s our responsibility to empower those who want to dedicate their lives to caring for others.

These two missions drive everything we do at Mile Square. We are committed to helping patients in medically underserved areas in Chicago who have less access to services like preventative health, dental health, behavioral health, and addiction treatment. We also prioritize educating, hiring, and training healthcare professionals from some of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Chicago.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are much more than words. Mile Square embodies these ideas in everything we do. We adhere to a philosophy that everyone — regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make — can access high-quality healthcare and live life to their fullest potential.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Mile Square’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are pillars that shape our organization. In order to promote DE&I and social justice, we are committed to:

1. Improving the health of vulnerable populations in the Chicago area.

The Mile Square service area comprises over 2 million residents in Chicago and Rockford. Our communities are overwhelmingly made up of racial and ethnic minorities and populations that experience high socioeconomic hardship. They also face unique health challenges centered around social determinants of health, such as low income, unemployment, crowded housing, and limited or no health insurance.

Mile Square Health Center Patient Demographics
  1. Black/African American: 36%
  2. Hispanic: 34%
  3. White non-Hispanic: 24%
  4. Asian non-Hispanic: 4%
  5. Another non-Hispanic race: 2%


Every three years, we conduct a needs assessment [PDF download] to determine the healthcare deficiencies within our communities. With this information, we write grants, develop projects, and spearhead programs that address these needs and gaps and improve the health of our patients.

For instance, many of our diabetes, hypertension, addiction, and cancer screening programs are direct results of our needs assessment work. We also received a Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to address maternal morbidity and mortality in our patient population.

2. Hiring from the communities we serve.

We believe that the people who work at Mile Square should reflect the patients we serve. We hire from within the communities we provide care to in order to promote patient-provider relationships, support the economic development of our communities, and provide educational and employment opportunities to those who need it most.

From our desk staff to our research teams to our providers, our team promotes diversity from within.

In our 2023 needs assessment, focus group participants reported that:
  1. Having Black staff from the neighborhood employed at all levels of the organization — from front desk and security to nurses and doctors — is relatable and familiar.
  2. Communicating with doctors is easier when they understand the community’s diet, culture, and struggles.
  3. A representative staff person can be an inspiration to children from Black communities, showing that they too could be doctors, nurses, or other healthcare professionals one day.


Our dental assistant training program is also designed to recruit individuals from our communities. The goal is to provide them with affordable and occasionally free training as well as employment after graduation.

3. Engaging our communities in all that we do.

We believe that everyone should have a say in the healthcare they receive. At Mile Square, that means working with our community members to adhere to aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice both within our facilities and in our communities.

Our research council and board of directors regularly engage with community members to include them in decisions related to Mile Square. These decisions directly impact themselves, their families, and their neighbors.

By getting input from the community board, our patient population gets a say in what research is conducted at Mile Square. This helps our communities feel heard — and it also helps us promote research that actually matters to our patient population.

At Mile Square, we have many opportunities to shape the present and future of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. By promoting the health of our patients, the education of our employees, and the well-being of our communities, we can expand access to excellent healthcare and improve the lives of everyone who walks through our doors.