10 May Solidarity with Mile Square Health Center NTT Faculty Nurses
The UIC administration has made the unilateral decision to close Mile Square Health Center in Humboldt Park, an academic, nurse-managed resource dedicated to providing healthcare to underserved and disenfranchised communities. The administration made this decision without input from its UIC faculty-nurses.
Mile Square provides comprehensive primary care for minoritized populations, many of whom are below the Federal Poverty Level and are under or uninsured. This site also provides education programs and practice sites for physicians, nurses, certified nurse midwives, and pharmacy students. Importantly, most of the faculty that work at this practice are non-tenure track at UIC, one of our own most vulnerable populations.
The closing of such a vital community and educational resource runs counter to UIC’s mission and UICUF’s dedication to protecting NTT faculty.
Please read the UICUF Executive Board’s full statement, written in collaboration with clinic nurses, below.
Statement on the Closing of Mile Square
Since 1998 the College of Nursing (CON) has operated a faculty practice that provided primary and mental health services for individuals with severe mental illness. In 2007 that clinic became part of the Mile Square family of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). It is a faculty practice owned by a College of Nursing and is also a FQHC within a large academic medical center. This collaboration is unique and enables patients access to both primary and specialty care regardless of ability to pay. Numerous CON students were precepted at Mile Square Humboldt Park (MSHP), and providers served as site project mentors for multiple DNP projects. At MSHP, students encountered a diverse, medically complex patient population in a non-stigmatizing environment.
In January 2023, the College of Nursing announced that they will be closing their faculty practice in Humboldt Park. Upper Administration cited a financial deficit and pending property sale as reasons for the closure. Clinical faculty offered to apply for available funding with SAMHSA to keep the clinic open. The Administration, however, declined any offer of help from faculty or the community and did not make a good faith effort to seek funding, relocation, or any input from community partners, collaborating colleges, or any staff within the faculty practice prior to their closure decision.
The closure of MSHP is a failure to uphold the CON’s values of community partnership and investment that will leave the Humboldt Park community with one less resource to address the complex issues it faces. UIC United Faculty expresses strong concern for the effects this closure will have on both the clients and practitioners; at the same time, UICUF appeals to the Administration to make future decisions fully transparent and in line with the social justice values of the university.