By Lorena Nava | @RedLineProject | Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
According to Dr. Leiyu Shi and Dr. Gregory D. Stevens in the Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, community health centers are important in the United States because they serve a “safety-net healthcare delivery role for vulnerable populations.”
They make medical care accessible to all individuals and help to solve a community’s health issues by identifying its social, economic, and environmental determinants. Experts say community health centers serve the underprivileged and actively engage with members of a community.
In 2014, the City of Chicago Data Portal began recording data on primary care community health centers around Chicago. The data, which is mapped above, shows the locations of clinics and health centers within the city’s community areas. Clinics were only included in the list as long as it was their specific mission to care for underserved populations and as long as their health services were not excludable. In 2019, when the data was last updated, Chicago reportedly held a total 120 primary care community health centers.
South Lawndale, also known as Little Village, held the most with 10 clinics. The community area, which has a population of less than 75,000, has a high amount of Hispanic or Latino residents. Among these residents, around 35 percent have a household income of less than $25,000.
Interestingly, 27 of Chicago’s 77 community areas tied for holding the least amount of clinics: O’Hare, Edison Park, Norwood Park, Dunning, Jefferson Park, Forest Glen, North Park, Irving Park, Montclare, Avondale, Hermosa, East Garfield Park, the Loop, Bridgeport, Armour Square, Clearing, West Lawn, West Englewood, Ashburn, Chatham, Avalon Park, Burnside, Mount Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park, West Pullman, and South Deering.
Most of the areas are located along the edges of Chicago.
In spite of these numbers, Chicago today is showing increasing concern for community health care centers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. We see clinics, such as the Mile Square Health Center, posting more information on scheduling appointments and COVID-19 testing. Those who are looking for health clinics in Chicago can refer to the City of Chicago website to search for community health centers by ZIP code and affordability.
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