Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) on December 4 brokeground on aneighborhood center in Chicago’s historic Pullman community. Called the Blue Door Neighborhood Center, it will be BCBSIL’s first-ever neighborhood-based site, offering Chicagoans the opportunity to access in-person services aimed at helping them improve their health.
“We believe that health care is local. By working in partnership with residents in the Pullman and Roseland community our collective efforts can directly impact its overall health,” said Maurice Smith, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We plan to offer education and wellness courses, access to support services and help our members make the best use of their benefits.”
Expected to open in April, the center’s services will be for everyone in the community – not just BCBSIL members. Programming will be free and will include: educational workshops with a focus on nutrition, diabetes, asthma, heart disease and behavioral health; wellness classes such as yoga or meditation; the opportunity for members to meet one-on-one to learn how to make the most of their health care benefits.
“Helping people navigate challenges that impact their ability to access care is an important part of our commitment to improve the overall health of local communities,” said Derek Robinson, MD, MBA, FACEP, CHCQM, chief medical officer, BCBSIL. “We look forward to the opportunity to work with the people in the Pullman and Roseland communities to improve whole person wellness by connecting residents to resources that can also have an impact on health such as transportation to medical appointments or lack of housing.”
The center will also feature a meeting room that can be reserved by local non-profit groups for meetings and events.
9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale was among those who donned a hard hat and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, which featured festive holiday carols by the Voices of Diversity, a singing group made up of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois employees.
“Because of the positive economic and social impact that recently completed projects like the Pullman Community Center, the Whole Foods Midwest Distribution Center, Pullman Park and others have had in the community, I’m confident the new Blue Cross Neighborhood Center will continue this positive trajectory well into the future,” said Alderman Beale.
The BCBSIL center will occupy 3,700 square feet of space at the 111th Street Gateway Retail Center at 756 E. 111th Street, just west of Doty Avenue. The center, which already houses a Potbelly Sandwich shop and Star Cleaners, was developed and built by Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI). CNI is a nonprofit community development organization which has created more than 1,300 new jobs and more than 200 new units of housing.
“We’re proud to help bring greater access to health information and services to the people of Pullman,” remarked Ciere Boatright, CNI’s Vice President of Real Estate and Inclusion. “Thanks to BCBSIL and all our community partners, we’re building a stronger, healthier community.”
As the April opening approaches, residents will be able to learn more about the progress of the center by going to the www.bluedoorcenteril. com.