About Mile Square

History & Major Milestones

It all started with an exceptional idea.

In 1967, a group of community activists, armed with little more than determination, set out to acquire quality healthcare services for their neighborhood. As a result of their efforts and the federal government’s “War on Poverty,” Mile Square Health Center (MSHC) was established on Chicago’s near West Side. The multi-service facility grew so quickly that by 1985, it was the largest federally funded community health center between the East and West coasts. However, in the late 1980s, beset by a lack of funding, MSHC closed its doors.

In 1990, a unique partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Medical Center (today referred to as UI Health) was established to reopen the Mile Square Health Center. The facility was owned by the City of Chicago Department of Public Health, and staffed and managed by UIC. In February 1991, the center reopened to the community, seeing its first patient.

In 1999, Mile Square became an official component of the University of Illinois, becoming one of the few public sector Federally Qualified Health Centers in the nation. In 2020, Mile Square expanded beyond the Chicagoland area by opening a site in the city of Rockford.

Today, Mile Square offers medical education programs for physicians, nurses, certified nurse midwives, and pharmacy, social work, and dental students while providing high-quality healthcare for the community. We continue to thrive and expand to meet the unmet healthcare needs throughout the Chicagoland area.

Mile Square is committed to serving all residents of the city of Chicago, Rockford, Cicero and the surrounding areas, especially those who are marginalized. Our patients are predominantly minorities, many of whom live at or below the Federal Poverty Level, have public insurance, or are uninsured. We see all patients regardless of their ability to pay. Care is provided on a sliding fee scale, which is based on family size and the Federal Poverty Level. The Mile Square system provides comprehensive primary care for children and adults of all ages through primary care clinics and school-based health centers.

Our service area covers most of the West and South Sides of Chicago, and portions of Cicero and the Rockford area.


The mission of Mile Square Health Center is to provide holistic, quality health services in the midst of an underserved, urban community. The concept of holistic services includes not only to restore health, but also to prevent disease, promote healthy lifestyles, and provide personalized support to individuals and families.  

Four strategic pillars guide our organization:

  • Financial growth and acumen
  • Clinical excellence
  • Staff and patient satisfaction
  • Community engagement

To achieve these goals, our practice extends well beyond a “building” and into the heart of the community.

Community Needs & Vision