From the CEO

A buzzworthy summer

Greetings Friends,

I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day holiday and returned ready for a jam-packed IMD summer! We have lots to catch up on, so let’s get started.

On April 9 and 17, we were proud to partner with PCs for People for two electronics recycling events at our office. Thank you to everyone who donated their old electronics for a good cause! Instead of going to a landfill, PCs for People will refurbish any usable items to extend their life and give them back to the community then responsibly recycle the rest. On April 30, I was honored to pay a visit to Bright Horizons on the first floor of the Hyatt Place IMD. I got a firsthand look at the wonderful work their caring staff are doing every day to help young minds learn and grow. They offer early education programs for infants, twos, preschool, kindergarten prep and school-aged children (including drop-in care) with a focus on nurturing children’s natural curiosity and discovery driven learning. On May 20, we partnered with Active Transportation Alliance to kick off Chicago Bike Month in the IMD with a Bike Commuter Celebration Station. During rush hour we cheered riders on, offered them free snacks, bike repairs, and talked about our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan announced in March.

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This year, we partnered with the UIC Department of Urban Planning and Policy to sponsor their Masters of City Design course. Students researched and made recommendations for improvements to the IMD based on research and community feedback. Their work culminated in two events in the Gateway on May 28 and 29 where they listened to community members, and then two workshops at our office on May 30 and June 7. Thank you to everyone who shared their opinion and hats to our future urban planners for helping to improve the IMD. On June 3 we officially welcomed two new team members to the IMD Commission: Cathy Kwiatkowski, our new Chief Operating Officer, and Jaya Lewis, our 2024 Summer Intern. So, if you see any new faces, please give them a warm IMD welcome! Most recently, this week on June 11 we kicked off our warm weather fitness season with our first lunchtime walk of the year. Every Tuesday the IMD Run & Walk Group will meet at the Hyatt Place IMD at 11:30 a.m. for a 1-mile walk around the IMD. Newcomers are welcome so we hope to see you there!

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We’re just 67 days away from welcoming thousands of new visitors to the IMD for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the United Center just to our north. When news broke in last year that Chicago had been selected as the host, we knew that the IMD would play a crucial role in ensuring the event was a success for our city and community. Since April 2023 we’ve been monitoring the development of the security perimeter and working with law enforcement to ensure that the delivery of critical healthcare and emergency services to and from the IMD during the DNC are not impacted. We’re also coordinating with our transportation agencies for any changes to rail or bus routes during the conventions and will share more information about that when we can. We also dusted off old plans and drafted new ones for how the IMD could put its best foot forward to showcase the community that we love for an international audience. Permits have been submitted, dates have been finalized, and construction will soon begin on some highly visible improvements that will be in place before showtime in August. We’ll also be sharing information next week about a special event happening on Tuesday, August 20 so follow us on social to be the first to know.

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Between now and July 22, we are requesting proposals for landscape architecture design services from qualified firms with the intent to build a new public park in the IMD. Please share with your contacts and reach out to Corey Stringer at with any questions. Also coming up, I was honored to be invited to speak at the member meeting for the Chicago Central Area Committee (CCAC) and will host a conversation about the future of the Illinois Medical District on June 18. Thank you to CannonDesign for hosting this event, if you are interested in attending, please register here.

Enjoy reading the rest of this issue and hearing more about the work of the IMDC and our partners and to see what all the buzz is about. I remain as inspired as ever to be a part of the IMD community and look forward to seeing all the things your organizations will accomplish this summer. As always, please remember to shop local and support our partners doing great work in and around the IMD.

Happy Pride Month, Happy Father’s Day, Happy Juneteenth, Happy Independence Day, and I’ll see you at a run and walk or Blues Friday soon!


Allyson Hansen

CEO and Executive Director


New in the IMD

New Hires: Chief Operating Officer and 2024 Summer Intern

Chief Operating Officer

Cathy Kwiatkowski has joined the Illinois Medical District Commission (IMDC) as our new Chief Operating Officer. Cathy brings over 20 years of strategic vision and planning skills in executing complex multijurisdictional projects and communications initiatives, with an emphasis on public engagement, diversity and inclusion.

Prior to her new role at the IMDC, Cathy served the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) in a dual role, on the Executive Team as Senior Policy Advisor and as the Head of the Illinois Office of Communication and Information, leading internal and external communications and strategy for the State of Illinois’ management and operational services agency serving more than 80 agencies, boards and commissions. She coordinated strategic communications with the Office of the Governor and Office of the Lt. Governor and managed coordination of diversity, equity and inclusion communications efforts.

Prior to joining CMS, Cathy served in numerous roles for the City of Chicago, most recently as the Director of Public Affairs for the City of Chicago’s Department of Procurement Services where she implemented innovative programming and legislative solutions to increase opportunities for minority, veteran and disadvantaged businesses. She managed the Procurement Reform Task Force, a nationally recognized initiative to promote greater uniformity across government agencies, the Government Procurement Compliance Forum (GPC), a cross-agency strategic planning initiative that included over 30 local, county, state and federal government entities and served on the City’s Affirmative Action Advisory Board.

At the Chicago Department of Aviation, Cathy managed planning, strategy, and communications activities for projects at O’Hare and Midway International Airports, including large-scale public events designed to spotlight the many ways to engage with the City of Chicago.

You can email Cathy at Please give her a warm IMD welcome!

2024 Summer Intern

Jaya Lewis has joined the IMDC as our 2024 Summer Intern. You’ll see Jaya in an around the IMD now through August working on various projects.

Jaya is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work at Western Illinois University. After graduation, she plans to obtain her Master of Social Work (MSW) and become a medical social worker.

As the oldest of five siblings, she has always felt a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to helping others, and is passionate about all aspects of social work, especially in making our communities better and supporting children in need.

You can email Jaya at


Request for Proposals: Landscape Architecture Design

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The IMDC is requesting proposals to provide landscape architecture and design services.

The IMDC is requesting that interested parties submit proposals for landscape architecture and design services that are inspirational and create alignment between the IMD and its anchors with the goal to create a public park that benefits all workers, students, patients, and visitors in the IMD. We are looking for respondents that demonstrate an understanding of our organizational goals, mission and available resources.

Responses are due by Monday, July 22. To learn more, including how to apply, click here.

Key Dates

  • June 11: RFP Issuance
  • July 2: Question Submission Cut-Off
  • July 9: Responses to Questions Posted
  • July 22: RFP Response Due Date
  • August 5 (estimate): Shortlist Selection
  • August 28 (estimate): Final Selection


For any questions, please email Corey Stringer at


Join Us Tuesdays: IMD Run & Walk Group

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The sun is shining and the IMD Run & Walk Group is in full swing!

The IMDC has partnered with The Chicago Lighthouse, Precision Human Performance, and the West Central Association (WCA) to bring another season of free inclusive fitness opportunities to the IMD community.

When (Lunchtime Walk)

Every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. (weather permitting)


Hyatt Place / Hyatt House IMD

1835 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612

When (Evening Run and Walk)

Every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. (weather permitting)


Precision Human Performance

1613 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60612

Join the facebook group, follow us on social, and stay tuned as we announce future run and walk giveaways and prizes — all leading up to the Chicago Lighthouse Rise to Shine 10K/5K/1M taking place in the IMD on Sunday, October 20.

For more information, including how to get more involved or sponsor a run or walk, please email Noe Symonanis at See you in the streets!


News from around the IMD

IMD beehive installed, urban beekeeping begins

Corey Stringer, IMDC Operations Manager, supervises the hive install.

The IMD Commission has partnered with Alvéole to launch an urban beekeeping program and now has our own hive! This was made possible through a generous contribution from UI Health.

On Thursday, May 30 a hive was installed at our building at 2255 W Harrison St. We’re proud to take part in the movement for more eco-conscious cities by bringing wild bee homes and a honeybee hive to our building.

Bees coming and going from their new home.

Our very own honeybee colony will produce hyper-local honey, while the bee home will provide nesting habitat for important solitary wild bees and insects. You can expect regular updates from our beekeeper as they observe and report on nesting activity, colony growth, and other bee updates on our MyHive page.

This fall, we will harvest our first batch of IMD honey, so stay tuned for more as the project develops.

Live Blues Fridays in the IMD at Crockett Cookies Food Venue

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IMD has the blues!

The Crockett Cookies Food Venue in the located on the first floor of the Hyatt Place IMD has launched Blues on Fridays featuring the Freddie Dixon Blues Band.

Enjoy live music and food from Dozzy’s Grill.


Starting Friday, June 14 from 4 – 7 p.m.


$20 in advance; $25 at door

Includes drinks and bites!


Crockett Cookies Food Venue

1811 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612

To learn more, including how to sponsor a Blues on Friday, click here.

CHICAT, RUSH, and Steelcase team up to improve patient experience

Translucent photographs on windows in the sunlit atrium at Rush’s patient rooms.

In the summer of 2023, high school students at the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology (CHICAT) created a photography project in partnership with Rush University Medical Center and Steelcase.

Fifteen students toured Steelcase to learn about how environment affects health from ​Dr. Tracy Brower and learned about photography from CHICAT’s instructor, Stuart Grais. Then they set out through the summer to take photographs of flowers, ponds, trees, and landscapes captured all over Chicago.

These thousands of photographs were then curated and forty were selected to be printed as 3′ x 5′ translucent photographs placed on windows in the sunlit atrium on the seventh floor of Rush hospital’s patient rooms. The natural light illuminates the photos in the patient rooms, provides the feeling of more privacy, and adds natural beauty to the space. The feedback from patients, visitors, and staff has been fantastic!

Urban Autism Solutions Carrots & Cocktails Gala

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Join Urban Autism Solutions (UAS) for a casual gala with urban farm flair benefiting young adults with autism and related challenges in our Chicago communities.

Experience a live performance from featured musician Packy Lundholm while indulging in handcrafted cocktails and farm-fresh appetizers, shop the on-site farm stand stocked with newly harvested produce along with merchandise, venture on a guided farm tour led by UAS students connecting with nature while learning more about the impact of Growing Solutions Farm, and try your luck in the raffle and snag some amazing items – there’s something for everyone’s interest and appetite!


Thursday, June 20 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Appetizers & Cocktails, Raffle, Music, Farm Stand


Growing Solutions Farm

2200 W Campbell Park Dr, Chicago, IL 60612

To learn more or register, click here.

ChicagoCAC “Keeping Children Safe Online” webinar

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June is Online Safety Month and the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) is hosting a virtual training for how to keep kids safe online.


Friday, June 21 from 10 – 11 a.m.

CEUs available for licensed professionals.


Virtual (Zoom Link)

Internet safety and social media’s influence on teens and young children have been hot topics of discussion everywhere from Congress to your dinner table. This free discussion will focus on how to talk to youth about digital safety, what online boundary violations look like and how we can prevent them, plus how to encourage families to have a healthier relationship with technology. This training can benefit parents and caregivers in addition to youth-serving professionals.

To register or learn more, click here.