From the CEO

All signs point to IMD

I hope you have been enjoying the plentiful sunshine this summer, laughing with loved ones, reconnecting with old friends, enjoying long holidays to distant destinations, and attending one of Chicago’s many festivals and concerts.

It’s been a busy two months at the IMD since we last spoke, and I remain inspired as ever about the amazing people and work being accomplished here every day. On June 8, we hosted our first ever all council Happy Hour on the Lydian roof deck and it was a joy inviting so many old and new friends into the Lydian’s beautiful space to network face-to-face. On June 12, I was honored with a behind-the-scenes tour of the UI Health Craniofacial Center and the life-changing procedures they do to improve the lives of patients young and old. If you’re as inspired as I am, I invite you to get involved with the Face the Future Foundation that supports their great work. On June 24, the IMD hosted its first Clean the Streets event with volunteers from West Central Association, Precision Human Performance and were joined by Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. — keep an eye out for more events like this in the future as we all join together to help keep the streets of the IMD clean and safe for all.

Two people look at artificial eyes

CEO and Executive Director Allyson Hansen is given a tour of the UI Health Craniofacial Center by Dr. Pravin Patel

On July 11, I was honored to speak as part of a panel at the Chicago Life Sciences Summit to discuss how Chicago can continue to build momentum, attract investment, and cultivate the talent needed to propel our city into becoming the next great life sciences hub. And on July 12, the IMD launched its new Run and Walk Group. We’re meeting every second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Hyatt Place Chicago for a 1-mile “Medical Mile” course guided by trainers from Precision Human Performance. This group is open to all, and I hope to see you there! Check our Events calendar for all the upcoming dates.

Three people sitting on stage on stools

CEO and Executive Director Allyson Hansen on stage at the 2023 Bisnow Life Sciences Summit

When it comes to delivering big for our stakeholders and neighbors, the IMD is not slowing down. Our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan led by the experienced team from Sam Schwartz is on track to deliver its recommendations for how to make the streets of the IMD safer for pedestrians and bikers alike, so stay tuned for more information about that in the fall. In the meantime, we’ve been hosting a series of pop-up events to meet riders where they are and spread awareness of the plan. In July, we officially launched our Wayfinding and Signage Master Plan. We recognize that a lot of work needs to be done to improve IMD boundaries, gateways, directional signage and more. As the IMD continues to evolve into a bustling and vibrant neighborhood, creating a sense of place and helping visitors navigate around and through the IMD to reach our many partners and businesses will be crucial to our long-term success. The first phase of the plan is a series of Community Workshops to engage residents from surrounding neighborhoods, and I encourage all to attend and share your stories that will shape how the IMD’s signage and public art develop in a collaborative way.

Large group of people eating snacks and drinking

IMD All Council Happy Hour on the Lydian roof deck

There are two events I would like to quickly share with you before our next issue in October. The first is Urban Autism Solutions Growing Solutions Farm located in the IMD that will continue to welcome visitors from now until October. The second is the Chicago Lighthouse Rise to Shine Run & Walk scheduled for Sunday, October 22 in the IMD. Both events highlight the caring and community that the IMD is known for, and I encourage you to stop by for produce on your lunch break, on the way home from work, or to register for the race and support these inclusive causes.

I can’t wait to share more about the amazing developments staff have been hard at work on in the fall. Until then, enjoy the rest of your summer, Happy Labor Day, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month, and I’ll see you at a walk and run meet up soon!


Allyson Hansen

CEO and Executive Director

Around the IMD

Wayfinding and Signage project launches — plus attend a community workshop

Outdoors, city street, large gray stone pillar that reads "IMD"

Monolith style pillar, a common sight around the IMD

The Illinois Medical District Wayfinding and Signage project has launched with the goal of enhancing navigation and connectivity throughout the IMD, identifying and improving gateways, and creating a sense of place. The project is being led by teams from Confluence, Cardosi Kiper Design Group and alt Space Chicago.

As the IMD continues to evolve as a neighborhood, ensuring there is clear and consistent directional signage and identifiable gateways will be critical to aid in navigation and the experience of patients, visitors and residents. And with a rich history dating back to 1941, the project will also make recommendations for how to celebrate our shared story through public art and more.

The first phase of the project is a series of community workshops to engage the surrounding communities with artwork that can inform and be incorporated into the eventual master plan. There have been two community workshops already in Pilsen and East Garfield with two more scheduled, they are:

To learn more, visit the project site here. For any questions contact or follow us on social media to stay up to date with the latest news and information.

COVID-19 Memorial Monument design contest and $20,000 prize

COVID-19 Monument Commission logo

COVID-19 Monument Commission logo

Calling all artists, designers and creative minds!

The Hektoen Institute of Medicine COVID-19 Monument Commission has launched an international competition to design a “COVID-19 Monument of Honor, Remembrance, & Resilience” and the winner will receive a $20,000 prize.

No other event in the past two centuries touched everyone like the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether by death, illness, grief, or lockdown, the pandemic left no one unscathed. This universal event respected no borders and did not discriminate by age, gender, religion, or nationality. As the pandemic excluded no one, the goal of the Monument is to be inclusive and embrace the experience of all citizens throughout the world. Additionally, the Monument will celebrate resilience and victory. The discovery and distribution of vaccines effectively saved millions of lives, and this triumph of science should be lauded and serve as a reminder of hope in the face of intense adversity and obstacles. 

The first phase is a design concept competition. All are invited to design a concept for the eventual physical structure, with the winning concept receiving a $20,000 prize. The deadline for submission is Thursday, August 31, 2023 at midnight CST.

View the design guidelines here, or read the FAQ here. For any questions (not submissions) contact

Follow the COVID Memorial Monument on Instagram and Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest news as the project advances.

CTA Blue Line work begins

CTA workers passing out flyers to passengers about blue line service changes

CTA workers passing out flyers to passengers

On July 23, the CTA began the first phase of its Forest Park Branch Rebuild impacting the IMD Blue Line stop.

Much of the infrastructure along the Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line is original, dating back to 1958. Under the first phase of work, crews will completely rebuild the track infrastructure between the Illinois Medical District and LaSalle stations – removing 15,000 feet or almost three miles of slow zones – demolish and rebuild the entire Racine station to meet modern accessibility guidelines, and upgrade the traction power system for improved service reliability.

CTA tracks under construction with bulldozers and rubble

CTA Blue Line tracks under construction

Phase one is scheduled to run until late August, with phase two planned to wrap in October. The CTA is offering shuttles between stations to help minimize service interruptions, free and reduced fares, and advising riders to consider alternate routes such as local buses and utilizing Pink and Green line stations.

Detailed maps, shuttle, route and project information can be found here.

Join Us: Run and Walk Group

Six people standing on city street on sunny day in running clothes with sign that reads "Hyatt Place"

Trainers and participants at last week’s IMD run and walk meet up

In partnership with the Chicago Lighthouse, Precision Human Performance and West Central Association, the IMD has launched a new run and walk group — and you’re invited!

We meet every second and fourth Wednesday of the month for a 1-mile “Medical Mile” course where you can run or walk at your own pace. All are welcome! Details are:


Every second and fourth Wednesday


5:30 p.m. (warm up) 6 p.m. (run and walk)


Hyatt Place Chicago, 1835 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL60612

To view the upcoming dates and times click here, for any questions, contact Michelle Amore at

See you in the streets!