Chicago’s first black-owned urgent care facility opened in Hyde Park last month bringing much needed health services to the city’s Southside.
Located on 47th and Lake Park Avenue, Premier Urgent Care and Occupational Health Center was founded by a group of black emergency room and trauma doctors who hope to provide vital healthcare to the Southside community as well as combat youth violence throughout the city of Chicago.
“When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you feel like doing is getting in your car and driving 20 minutes to the doctor’s office or the emergency room,” co-founder Dr. Reuben Rutland, explained to the Defender. “With an urgent care facility, we treat you closer to home and can get you on your way.”
Along with Rutland, the facility’s founders include Dr. Airron Richardson and Dr. Michael McGee. The three worked in partnership with former Chicago Bears lineman and first black orthopedic surgeon at the University of Chicago Dr. Gregory Primus.
Premier Urgent Care provides non-life-threatening health services from the flu and minor abrasions to dislocated bones, minor fractures, , respiratory infections, and STD testing. Their goal is to give patients comprehensive and respectful care experience for health issues that need to be addressed but might not require a trip to the emergency room.
Studies show that the current state of healthcare disparity in the United States is a dire one — with racial and ethnic minorities much less likely to receive preventive and remedial carethan whites. Premier Urgent Care hopes to close that gap.
“We have more and more minority professionals come in who don’t necessarily have the time to wait three weeks before they can see their doctor or wait eight hours in the ER,” Rutland said. “Most people want to get in, get treated, and get on their way. That’s the care we want to provide.”
In addition to providing health services, the founders are also dedicated to curbing youth violence throughout the community with their non-profit group Project Outreach and Prevention. A percentage of their profits go towards the non-profit, which is dedicated to providing mentorship programs for at-risk teens.
“We go into juvenile detention centers and high schools to help kids make better choices,” explained Rutland. “We have them shadow doctors to show them what it’s like to be in the medical profession. [Dr. McGee and I] are really passionate about giving back to the community.”
Having worked years in emergency rooms and trauma departments, the doctors know all too well the impact that gun violence can have on the youth of a community.
“I love my job, but the worst part is when a patient has passed away and I have to walk into the waiting room to tell the family,” Rutland explained. “For the first two or three seconds everybody’s looking to you with all types of hope — but you’re about to devastate them with the news.”
He continued, “If we’re not going to take control and try to do something to give back and decrease the violence in the community, then who will?”
Premier Urgent Care is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.