From the CEO

See you at the finish line

The sound of leaves crunching underfoot, golden sunsets and the crispness in the air signal that the season for giving thanks has arrived.

It’s been a busy couple months since our last issue. On August 22, we were proud to host Kenya K. Merritt, Deputy Mayor of Business and Neighborhood Development for the City of Chicago, to discuss how we can work together to improve the economic vitality and equity of our communities while promoting Chicago as a national life sciences destination. On September 12, I was honored to appear on Guest House’s new show on CAN TV to discuss the great things happening in the IMD, feel free to watch the episode if you have time. You can catch their show on Channel 21 at 5 p.m. CST every second Tuesday of the month. IMD Commission staff are hard at work finalizing our Bike and Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, so stay tuned for more information as we prepare to announce the plan recommendations for making the streets of the IMD safer for bikers and pedestrians. Work also continues on our Wayfinding and Signage Master Plan that will shape the future of directional signage and gateways in the IMD. Thank you to our stakeholders who provided invaluable insight about the challenges and opportunities for improving how people locate and navigate around the IMD.

IMD Commissioners and staff with City of Chicago Deputy Mayor Kenya K. Merritt

Deputy Mayor of Business and Neighborhood Development for the City of Chicago Kenya K. Merritt with IMD Commissioners and staff on August 22, 2023

We’re just days away from the 2023 Rise to Shine run and walk on Sunday, October 22 and it’s not too late to support this inclusive event that celebrates the best of what makes the IMD a caring community. I’ll be running with other leaders of the IMD, and I can’t wait to see many of you there alongside us or cheering from the sidelines. I also encourage you to attend or share the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Illinois State of Diabetes event on Friday, November 3 at Malcolm X College. This free event will include health screenings (at no cost) and provides a platform for patients and caretakers to learn from leading experts in diabetes care and education. Diabetes disproportionately affects the most vulnerable populations, many of which the IMD serves, and I thank the ADA for bringing this event to where it’s needed most.

I also hope our Hispanic and Latino friends and family have been having a memorable Hispanic Heritage Month! Latino people enrich the IMD, Chicago and our society at every level and we are stronger because of you. For the month of October, we’ve gone pink to bring attention to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The statistics around breast cancer are eye-popping, with 1 in 8 women expected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime and breast cancer comprising around 30% of all female cancers. We honor the memory of our friends and loved ones impacted by this disease and celebrate the great strides in early detection and treatment that have saved so many lives and created a rich community of survivors and advocates. Let me take this opportunity to also wish all our men and women who have served in the armed forces an early Happy Veterans Day. In the IMD, we’re proud to be the home of Jesse Brown VA Medical Center that provides care and treatment to veterans from across the Chicagoland area, and great programs like Road Home at Rush. Thank you for your service and we honor your sacrifice every day.

I can’t wait to share more in December about the great work our team and partners have been up to, but until then I wish you an early Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving and I’ll see you at the finish line!


Allyson Hansen

CEO and Executive Director

Around the IMD

Rise to Shine 10K/5K/1M Inclusive Run & Walk

Runner in yellow shirt with logo that reads "Rise to Shine 10K/5K/1M"

Join us at the 2023 Rise to Shine Run & Walk in the IMD on Sunday, October 22

We’re just days away from the 2023 Chicago Lighthouse Rise to Shine Run & Walk 10K/5K/1M.


Sunday, October 22, 2023


8 a.m.


Hastings & Wood Street in the Illinois Medical District

The Illinois Medical District is proud to host the second annual “Rise to Shine” Run & Walk, which prioritizes accessibility for people with disabilities while promoting health and inclusion in our community.

One in four Americans has a disability. Whether that is you or someone you know, the Run & Walk is an event where all people – with and without disabilities – are welcomed and celebrated. This accessible, certified, and chip-timed event promotes health, community and inclusion and is open to participants of all ages and abilities.

This event is presented by The Chicago Lighthouse along with the Chicago Central Lions Club will be followed by a free Fitness Fest for all, with a kids’ race, food, entertainment, fitness challenges and accessibility demonstrations.

Register as an individual or form a team with friends, family and/or coworkers. Sign up today here.

ADA Illinois State of Diabetes Community Day of Access and Education

Join us at the 2023 ADA Illinois State of Diabetes event on Friday, November 3

Mark your calendars for the American Diabetes Association (ADA) 2023 Illinois State of Diabetes Community Day of Access and Education.


Friday, November 3, 2023


10 a.m. – 6 p.m.


Malcolm X College

Join the ADA for their Illinois State of Diabetes annual event. This free event will focus on providing free diabetes screenings, diabetes resources, and raising the level of consciousness around health equity for the 1 out of 2 Americans with diabetes and prediabetes and those at risk.

Health inequity contributes to worse outcomes and a higher risk for diabetes and many other diseases, undermining the well-being of our most underserved communities, including many of the neighborhoods surrounding the IMD. The State of Diabetes will focus on the patient experience and voice related to diabetes management, prevention, and overall health and wellness.

The event is free to attend but registration is encouraged, and donations are welcome. Visit their website to learn more including how to get involved.

Medicaid Redetermination events underway

Share or attend a Medicaid Redetermination event if you know someone that needs assistance

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicaid members received continuous coverage, but starting this year the annual process to renew coverage known as “redetermination” resumed with patients required to confirm they are still eligible to receive Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid enrollment swelled during continuous coverage, partially because people who normally come on and off coverage stayed continuously covered, and partially because of the economic and health-related consequences of the pandemic. Illinois now has roughly 3.9 million people enrolled in Medicaid, compared to roughly 2.9 million before the pandemic.

Cook County Health is holding a series of Redetermination Events through the end of October at locations throughout the IMD and surrounding neighborhoods to assist people with completing the necessary paperwork. Cook County Health has also put together resources for providers and Medicaid available in multiple languages.

Medicaid members are encouraged to renew early to avoid any interruption in coverage or having to reapply. Learn more about upcoming redetermination events locations here.

CTA Blue Line service resumes

CTA Blue Line service between the UIC and IMD stations resumed October 8, 2023. To learn more watch this video.

Since July, CTA has been hard at work replacing 15,000 feet of track, drainage systems, and upgrading power systems to support the electrical needs of new modern railcars. Much of the infrastructure along the Forest Park Branch of the Blue Line is original, dating back to 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was President.

CTA blue line tracks being worked on

Work being completed on the Forest Park branch of the CTA Blue Line near IMD

Regular service has now resumed between UIC-Halsted and IMD stations. The Racine stop is being rebuilt and will remain closed until late-2024, with an alternate entrance on Loomis Street now open.

To learn more, visit the project website.