1995: Hidalgo Medical Services established
Hidalgo Medical Services (HMS), the organization that founded the Southwest Center for Health Innovation (CHI), opened its doors in 1995 as a joint project between the Office of Community Health at University of New Mexico and the people of Hidalgo County; at the time the last county in New Mexico with no access to basic health care services.
1995 – today: HMS grows and gets innovative
Since 1995, HMS has grown into an organization that serves upwards of 70% of the people of New Mexico’s 2 southwestern-most counties – one of the state’s most isolated, frontier, and traditionally underrepresented majority minority populations. This success required not only taking advantage of existing public policy, but expanding, encouraging, developing and adapting programs and policies to create the environment necessary for services to thrive and people to be served.
2007: The seeds are sown for CHI
By 2007, HMS was growing the CHI concept by adding the management of the National Center for Frontier Communities and the National REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) Coalition, as well as advanced work with UNM, the Universities of Arizona and Texas and the Northwest Regional Primary Care Association. Through this work, CHI developed a local, regional and national approach for creating innovative strategies to improve health in a broad sense.
2011: CHI becomes a separate division of HMS
When Hidalgo Medical Services established CHI, the concept of having a separate and equal division for policy, research and development was very unusual in the Community Health Center world.
2015: CHI becomes its own non-profit organization
By 2015, the need for CHI to focus fully on innovative approaches to policy & advocacy in rural community health drove the need for change. CHI spun off from HMS and became a separate non-profit organization, although still maintaining a close affiliation with HMS.