From its launch in 1997 to its present network of community health centers, FFHC has provided primary health care services to the vulnerable and medically underserved populations in a manner that is accessible, affordable, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate. FFHC ensures that patients have access to a full-range of primary and preventive health care services as well as the necessary supplemental services which are either delivered directly or through established arrangements or referrals.

FFHC was developed by the Friend Family Foundation through funding from the Michael Reese Health Trust, which enabled the merger of two University of Chicago (U of C) clinical practices – the Woodlawn Infant Clinic and a clinic housed at FFHC’s current flagship location on the U of C campus. In 1998, FFHC became a federally qualified health center (FQHC) and soon after expanded its services to additional Chicago communities. A significant number of the census tracts within its service area are designated as Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) and Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA), which are characterized by insufficient numbers of health care providers. 
In December of 2017, Human Resources Development Institute, Inc. (HRDI) merged into FFHC. Founded in 1974 by Dr. C. Vincent Bakeman and Mrs. Doris M. Lomas, HRDI is a leading provider of behavioral health services in Chicago addressing alcohol and substance abuse, mental health, youth & family services, community health, case management, HIV/AIDS, and gambling addiction. Since 2003, HRDI has also provided services to adult individuals with developmental disabilities in Alabama.

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