History Providers Leaders

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, serve Champaign County Head Start with a permanent clinic in Rantoul, provide 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

Brice Hutchcraft, President

Claudia Lennhoff, Vice President

Randy Hulett, Treasurer

Joe Guyette, Secretary

Minnie Pearson, Executive At Large

Courtney Nicole Bean

Pamela Bigler

Oliva Brown

Marya Burke

Chifan Cheng, DDS

Scott Greenlee

Martin Nieto

Judy Rubenacker

Kandace Turner

Emily Wee


Leadership Team

Promise Healthcare Primary Care Providers
Omar Al-Heeti, MD
Renu Bajaj, MD
Marisol Chirinos, PA-C
Melonie Darnall, NP
Kristen Erickson, NP
Sonja Hansen, MD
Carrie Keenan, PA-C
Corinne Kohler, MD
Alina Paul, MD
Shelly Tangen, NP
Jiayi Tao, PA-C
Carle Illinois Family Medicine Residents for OB and pediatrics
Carle Illinois Internal Medicine Residents 
Archana Chopra, MD
Feiteng Su, MD
Hang Sung Yang, MD
Carle Illinois Psychiatry Residents 
Mental Health Therapists
Shae Ellington, LCSW
James Hamilton, LCPC
Cindy Lam, LCPC
Lisa Sink, MSW
Promise Healthcare Dentists
Arshita Patel, BDS
Carlos Pirela, DDS