Cristina N. Medrano,M.D., ’94, Surgery

Dr. Medrano

Dr. Medrano has shown amazing dedication to treating the underserved. Dr. Medrano founded and runs Hope Community Health Center, a 501c(3) non-profit corporation in Champaign, Ill. Through this organization, she provides primary health-care services free of charge to residents of Champaign County. She also provides local outreach to organizations and churches in the community.

Dr. Medrano’s husband, Cliff Johnson, M.D., is also a 1994 alum and works at Carle Clinic in hand surgery. They matched together at SIU for surgical residencies: Cristina in General Surgery and Cliff in Orthopaedics. After residency, Cliff did a year of fellowship in Hand Surgery at the University of Minnesota and Cristina began a general surgery practice in Ottawa, Illinois. They relocated to Champaign, Ill. Dr. Medrano took several years off from surgery to raise the couple’s children.

In 2007 she opened a free primary care clinic in Champaign because of the rising numbers of uninsured in the area. With the help of SIU-SOM grads David Whitehill (Class of ’79) and Robert Woodward, M.D. (’94) as board members, Hope Community Health Center opened in October 2008 on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Center provides basic medical services to those without insurance and helps those with insurance who are struggling financially. Dr. Medrano’s clinic sees patients with high blood pressure, depression, anxiety and numerous other conditions. Diabetics come in with sugars in the 300 range who cannot afford an office visit with another doctor. The clinic treats people who should go to the emergency room but are worried about the bills. People come with different backgrounds and all levels of education. Most are embarrassed to have to come to a free clinic; most had given up hope of getting help. The Hope Center also sponsors community events such as presentations at Health Fairs and outreach clinics. Last fall, it held a school physical clinic for children of migrant workers.

Dr. Medrano enjoys interacting with students from various departments at UIUC as an advisor. Students in medical school, nursing and graduate nursing, social work, community health, and business have volunteered at Hope.

She also works part-time in general surgery at Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services. She says she enjoys the pace of the community hospital and the approachable administration and enjoys running into former classmate Ben Brewer, M.D. ’94.