In 1970 three organizations joined forces to define and seek solutions for an issue facing the Decatur Community. Access to healthcare for low income residents of Decatur was the concern. In an effort to better understand the problem, Torrence Park Citizens Committee, the Decatur Macon County Opportunities Corporation and the South Central Illinois Health Planning Council conducted a survey in the Torrence Park area to determine what kind of health care was currently be received by low income residents of Decatur. As a result of the significant deficiencies described by those surveyed, representatives from each group began studying this problem and looking for solutions.

After much study, the group set a goal of opening a health center in the fall of 1971. This goal was realized when the Community Health Improvement Center (CHIC) opened in July of 1972 in a small building located at 840 N. Morgan Street. As a result of high demand CHIC moved into a larger location at 360 East Grand Avenue (Wabash Hospital) six months after opening.

Founding Board Members:

  • Dr. Al Kiessel: Pathologist St. Mary’s Hospital
  • Sister Ann Bailey: Administrator St Mary’s Hospital
  • Bob Wilkerson: Director Macon County Rehabilitation Facility
  • Dr. F.G. Irwin: Retired Surgeon
  • Ray Batman: Director DOVE
  • Fred Spannaus: Coordinator for the Torrence Park Citizens Committee and Supervisor for VISTA Volunteers in Decatur
  • Wayne Shipley: Board Member of South Central Illinois Health Planning Commission
  • Naomi Bosley: Homemaker; Northwest Community Representative
  • Minnie Grandberry: Homemaker; Torrence Park Community Representative
  • Marjorie Wollrab: Registered Nurse
  • Marlene Murphy: Homemaker; Southwest Community Representative and President of CHIC Board
  • Harold Johnson: President of NAACP
  • Eleanor Stoller: Psychology Instructor at DMH School of Nursing
  • Madelaine Whitney: County Representative for Block Clubs
  • Mary Ray: President of the Family Planning Citizen’s Advisory Group; Public Housing Community Representative
  • Gertrude Embrey: Homemaker: Public Housing Community Representative
  • Paul Crutchfield: South East Community Representative
  • Bertha Taylor: Homemaker: Officer of the Longview Tenant Council