Carmen Velásquez

In the 1980’s social worker and bilingual consultant, Carmen Velásquez (born 1940), wanted all Chicagoans including those who were undocumented to receive good healthcare but she realized that would not happen unless she took action. In 1989, partnering with Dr. Ana Garcelon and Sister Sheila Lyne, the CEO of Mercy Hospital, Velásquez founded Alivio Medical Center, a bilingual community organization that provides healthcare to underserved Latino families. During Velásquez's 25 years as Executive Director, Alivio grew from one community health center to six clinics serving over 20,000 patients each year, almost all of  whom live at or below the federal poverty level. Velásquez now serves on the executive board of the Healthy Illinois Campaign, a statewide effort to make quality, affordable health care accessible to all people in Illinois.

Why this stop? Take the Orange Line to the Ashland stop, then hop on the Ashland Avenue #9 bus for a mile. You’ll be at one of Alivio’s school-based clinics—this one is at Benito Juarez Community Academy.

Learn more about Alivio’s founding and listen to Ms. Velásquez describe the hunt to find a piece of property for the first clinic.

Get InvolvedSupport Alivio Medical Center with a financial gift.