7 Things You Didn't Know About Mile Square

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Mile Square Health Center has been around for over 50 years. Our healthcare facilities are a staple in our communities, providing the highest quality healthcare to those who need it most.

Whether you live down the block or across the country, the history of Mile Square may come as a surprise. Here are 7 facts about UI Health Mile Square worth knowing.

1. The name Mile Square comes from our history.

Mile Square Health Center gets its name from our original service area — a square that was a mile wide.

This square mile, located on the west side of Chicago, was home to one of the largest public housing developments in the US, the Henry Horner, Rockwell, and Abla housing complexes. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, we began providing healthcare for a population that had some of the worst health outcomes in the country.

In 1990, Mile Square became part of the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.

Today, there are over 2 million residents in our primary service areas of Chicago, Cicero, and Rockford. Our population comes primarily from communities that experience high socioeconomic hardship and unique health challenges centered around social determinants of health.

2. Mile Square is one of the oldest Federally Qualified Health Centers in the US.

In 1967, we opened our doors as one of the first Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the US — and the first one in the city of Chicago.

FQHCs are federally funded health centers that provide healthcare to medically underserved populations, regardless of ability to pay. We provide comprehensive health services — including primary care, dental health, substance use disorder, and behavioral health — using a sliding fee scale for uninsured patients, meaning your family size and income determine the amount you pay.

Federally Qualified Health Centers are also managed by a Board of Directors, where the majority of members must also get care at that FQHC. At Mile Square, we’re co-managed by our Board of Directors as well as the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

3. Mile Square delivers an exceptional level of care because of our connection with the University of Illinois.

We are dedicated to maintaining the highest level of care for all of our patients. As an academic FQHC, all of our providers come from the University of Illinois. This means they are trained according to the standards of a well-established and rigorous academic institution that is committed to our mission of providing exceptional healthcare.

At UI Health Mile Square, you will never forego quality for convenience. Instead, highly skilled providers are right in your neighborhood, where you need them most. 

4. Mile Square is the only FQHC with a cancer survivorship program.

If you’re a cancer survivor, your cancer care is a part of your overall health. UI Health Mile Square is the only FQHC in the nation with a cancer survivorship program, allowing cancer survivors — whether they were just diagnosed, on active maintenance therapy, or have completed treatment — to get cancer care where they get the rest of their care. This not only increases convenience but also creates more connected care.

By getting cancer care where you get your primary care, your providers work closely with one another to support your cancer journey and promote your overall health. You can rest assured that everyone stays in the loop about your treatment plans and recovery — so you can focus on getting better.

5. Mile Square provides all medication options for patients with substance use disorders.

Substance use disorder — which is a condition where a person engages in problematic use of a substance (such as alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs) regardless of harmful consequences — can impact anyone. At Mile Square, we are one of the few FQHCs that provides a complete range of medication options for patients with substance use disorder.

In our service area, including in Chicago and Rockford, opioid use has become an increasingly worse problem, and opioid-related deaths are on the rise. In Illinois, the opioid overdose mortality rate per 10,000 is highest in Winnebago County, which comprises most of the Rockford area. Cook County has the third-highest rate of opioid overdose-related deaths in the state.

By offering all medication options for patients with substance use disorder, we save lives in our communities by getting patients the help they need in a convenient, familiar location.

6. Mile Square offers extensive educational opportunities.

Education is a key component to attracting and retaining skilled and dedicated healthcare professionals. At UI Health Mile Square, students from the seven health colleges at the University of Illinois rotate through Mile Square. Through this program, we are supporting the aspirations of budding healthcare professionals, especially those dedicated to improving health equity. In turn, our patients have access to the expertise of highly qualified students.

We also have a unique dental assistant training program, which is provided at a low cost to our students. We aim to access hard-to-reach community members to provide them with an education that will change their lives and the lives of their future patients.

7. Mile Square is health equity in your neighborhood.

At UI Health Mile Square, health equity is at the center of everything we do. It’s in the patients we serve, who come from medically underserved areas and deserve high-quality healthcare. It’s in the team members we hire, who are seeking to make a change in their lives and the lives of others. And it’s in the community partnerships we’ve formed, which engage hard-to-reach patients and improve the health of more families.

Our mission is to continue to support the well-being of our communities and contribute to improved healthcare nationwide. At UI Health Mile Square, we are health equity — and we’re here to improve your health.