Carmen Velásquez is the founder of Alivio Medical Center and the former Executive Director. In the mid-1980s, she was very passionate and involved with issues surrounding barriers to healthcare. Troubled by the fact that the medical needs of so many Mexicans living in Pilsen, Little Village and Back of the Yards were being severely neglected, she garnered the support of fellow Latino community members and spearheaded a drive called Project Alivio.
Ms.Velásquez and Dr. Ann Garcelon, a colleague of Ms.Velásquez and former Alivio board member, approached Mercy Hospital’s CEO, Sister Sheila Lyne. When Sister Sheila supported the creation of a community health center to address the issues of access to health care, the work of Alivio Medical Center was initiated.