Frances Nelson was a significant figure in the history of the Champaign-Urbana community. In the 1940s when African-American children found themselves without a home, Ms. Nelson welcomed them with open arms and put a roof over their heads. She encouraged them to become outstanding members of the community.
A volunteer-staffed health center was created in the 60’s to address the issue of high infant mortality in the African-American community. It has since transformed into a health center with staff physicians dedicated to providing primary health care to the underserved in our community. This health center was named for Frances Nelson when it moved into her former home in 1969.
In 2006, the Health Center moved to its current location on Bloomington Road in Champaign. Just five years later, in 2011, the Frances Nelson Dental Center opened in the same location. In 2012, ownership of both clinics was transferred to a local entity, Promise Healthcare.
Born from a grassroots effort to create a county public health department, SmileHealthy was started in 2002. With a public health mission and the flexibility of a small nonprofit, SmileHealthy would test and try new ways to deliver care to those who might otherwise go without. They added a mobile dental clinic program which now holds over 50 mobile clinic events a year, serves Champaign County Head Start with a permanent clinic in Rantoul, provides comprehensive education and case management, and even specialty care.
As part of the 50th Anniversary of the Frances Nelson Health Center, Promise Healthcare created the blog site to share essays, stories and images. You can find more here. If you have something to add, send us an email.
Board of Directors
Pam Bigler, President
Joe Guyette, Vice President
Kandace Turner, Treasurer
Scott Greenlee, Secretary
Minnie Pearson, At-Large
Paulette Colemon Peeples
Brian Laird Taiya Johnson
- Jennifer Henry, Executive Director
- Melonie Richardson, Medical Director
- Eddie Green, Clinical Director
- Jamie Dahlman, Chief Financial Officer
- Lisa Kilawee, VP of Strategy and Business Development
- Anne Jensen, Oral Health Director
- Shea Ward, Director of Marketing
- James Hamilton, Director of Behavioral Health
- Nick Isaac, Human Resources Director