Erie Family Health Center was founded by Dr. Robert Snyder in 1957 as a volunteer clinic. Dr. Snyder, an internist affiliated with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was made aware of the difficulties that community residents faced in accessing care by a patient, Ms. Carmela Jacob. Moved by this concern, Dr. Snyder arranged to provide on-site medical care to senior citizens at the Erie Neighborhood House, a local community center that served the area’s predominantly Polish,
At Erie Family Health Center, we believe health care is a right, not a privilege. Our mission is to provide accessible, affordable and high quality health care for those in need. Italian, German and Jewish immigrant population. The on-site clinic, staffed by medical students and volunteers, provided geriatric services two evenings per week. The program’s mission was to provide cost-effective health care services to the elderly residents of the West Town community of Chicago.
Over the next 10 years, Northwestern’s medical students became increasingly interested in staffing a student-run clinic to expand community-based medical services to low-income families. With the help of student and physician volunteers, the volunteer clinic expanded services
Erie expanded as the demographics of the neighborhood changed. The community, once home to many Eastern European immigrants, became predominantly Hispanic and the number of residents needing comprehensive, culturally competent health care services increased. in 1968 to offer care to low-income families as well as the elderly. Erie continued to serve the community as a clinical learning site for medical students from Northwestern Medical School and other programs in Chicago throughout the 1970’s. Erie evolved into a full-service community health center and was formally incorporated in 1970 as a separate organization from Erie Neighborhood House. In 1983, Erie was designated a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) after receiving its first federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Primary Health Care.
In the early 1980s, Erie began a period of rapid and sustained growth. In 1983, Erie Senior Health Center opened within a high-rise apartment complex for senior citizens. Erie Teen Health Center was converted from an apartment into a clinic in 1985. It was located in the northeast part of West Town, accessible to students from two public high schools. On February 14, 1986, Erie Family Health Center moved from its first location on Erie Street to a new location at 1656 W. Chicago Ave., in the southeast corner of West Town. An additional site, Erie Family Health Center Humboldt Park, opened in August 1986. By 1986, Erie provided services to seventy-eight patients per day. In recognition of the great services that Erie provided for the community, the Mayor of the City of Chicago in 1988 declared October 6th Erie Family Health Center Day in Chicago.
Erie expanded as the demographics of the neighborhood changed. The community, once home to many Eastern European immigrants, became predominantly Hispanic and the number of residents needing comprehensive, culturally competent health care services increased. The West Town location served an average of 2,328 patients a month in 1987. With the increased demand, the building was experiencing more wear and tear; it was old and the maintenance was becoming overwhelming. On May 26, 1994, Erie celebrated the beginning phases of renovating Erie’s current West Town site. Mayor Daley was present as the keynote speaker and shared the staff’s joy to have accomplished such a major goal.
Today, Erie provides comprehensive, culturally competent health care services to more than 70,000 patients a year, most of whom are low-income Hispanic families. The center provides services at thirteen locations: five large primary health care centers (Erie Helping Hands Health Center, Erie Division Street Health Center, Erie West Town Health Center, Erie Humboldt Park Health Center, and Erie Evanston/Skokie Health Center) four of which have integrated dental servcices, one adolescent-only health center and five elementary and high school-based health centers.
At Erie Family Health Center, we believe health care is a right, not a privilege. Our mission is to provide accessible, affordable and high quality health care for those in need. Erie continues to provide care and create programs based on the needs expressed by community members. Erie operates in partnership with the community to ensure their needs are met, carrying on the legacy started by its founders.
The people we serve:
¦72% of Erie’s patients are Hispanic
¦47% are best served in Spanish
¦63% are female
¦47% are under the age of 18
¦30% are uninsured
The Chicago communities we serve:
Erie also has locations in Evanston/Skokie and Waukegan which serve patients in nearby communities.