Sometimes success in a business venture can hinge on a single connection established through a company’s network of community partners. The Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University (SBDC) can potentially provide such assistance for any business in our community.
In 2012, Chestnut Health Systems began offering primary health care to McLean County residents living at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines at McLean County’s first Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). The Center, at 702 W. Chestnut St., is located in a medically-underserved neighborhood.
Between 2012 and 2017, demand for services grew. Chestnut Family Health Center was outgrowing its space and therefore embarked on an $8 million expansion project to offer additional services and to care for more patients.
Lori Laughlin, Director of Marketing and Communications says, “Given our increased capacity, it is crucial that we build awareness among the McLean County residents eligible to receive care at the Center.”
SBDC connected Chestnut Health Systems with David Wallace, Ph.D., assistant professor of business administration at Illinois Wesleyan. Dr. Wallace helped design a survey tool and a means of distribution. He involved students from one of his classes in writing survey questions. Dr. Wallace then provided analysis and interpretation of survey results.
According to Laughlin, “Having this data will improve our ability to connect with potential patients and to share information about how they can access the health care they need and deserve.”