Yvonda Thomas, Director of the City of Evanston Health Depatrment, introducing Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl at the Second Annual Health Summit at the Levy Senior Center on June 27.Photo by Mary Mumbrue

Erie Family Health Center has received a $650,000 grant to open a new health center in Evanston. The grant is one of 219 new grants nationwide and one of 11 in Illinois. The City’s application was not approved last year, said Evonda Thomas, the City’s director of public health, but because the City has the “right justification” [for a center], we were eligible this time,” she said. The Erie Family Health Center is already a federally qualified health center (FQHC), Ms. Thomas said, we will get $660,000 every year that the center is operated.”
The clinic will offer primary medical care and dental care from eight medical and two dental professionals. Among the services offered will be oral care, pediatric care, adult medical care, women’s health care, HIV and STD testing, urgent care, behavioral health services and family planning, Ms. Thomas said.
The center will be open to eligible residents in Evanston, Skokie and other nearby areas. Ms. Thomas says she anticipated that the center will have “5,000 dental visits and 24,000 medical visits” annually.
“This is a great day for the City of Evanston. A Federally Qualified Health Center will be the catalyst for improving the health and wellness of Evanston residents,” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “I want to thank Senator Dick Durbin and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky for their steadfast leadership in bringing this Center to Evanston. The support of Senator Durbin, Congresswoman Schakowsky, Evanston Health Director Evonda Thomas, and our broad range of partners – including Evanston and St. Francis Hospitals, local social service agencies, and Erie Family Health Center – will help us create a center that will make a real impact in people’s lives and leverage the services already provided by Evanston’s Health Department,” Mayor Tisdahl continued. 
“Erie Family Health Center has provided community health care services to Chicago residents for more than 50 years, and this grant allows us to partner with the City of Evanston to expand our reach,” said Dr. Lee Francis, president and CEO of Erie Family Health Center. “There is a need for affordable health care in Evanston and Skokie and the surrounding communities, and we look forward to the opportunity to serve patients and provide them with high-quality care.” 
“Currently only 12 percent of low-income people in the Evanston area receive care in Chicago community health centers, leaving the majority of residents without access to affordable care,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. “This new health center would help fill that gap. It is great news for the community and could not have been accomplished without the strong leadership of Mayor Tisdahl, the Erie Family Health Center and all of their partners.”
“I am thrilled by the Department of Health and Human Services decision to fund the expansion of Erie Family Health Center services into the Evanston and Skokie area said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “Approximately one quarter of African Americans and Latinos in the Evanston and Skokie area live below the poverty line. This decision is a great first step to address the large and increasing need for health care services in my district.
Mayor Tisdahl concluded, “This grant will allow us to improve people’s lives. The Evanston Erie Health Center will transform the health and wellness of every person who walks through its doors.”