The Illinois Medical District (IMD) is under new leadership to develop Chicago’s leading health science campus as a global innovation hub. IMD commissioners on Monday named Allyson J. Hansen as executive director, concluding a nine-month nationwide search led by Bridge Partners.
Hansen developed expertise in planning and administering medical facilities in a quarter-century career at UChicago Medicine, Trinity Health System, UI Health and Advocate Health Care. Since 2020, she has been managing partner of the Red Penny Group, advising large healthcare systems, medical groups and investors on growth, integration, operations and strategic plans.
Hansen will lead the District during a time of explosive growth and creativity, supporting a vibrant healthcare ecosystem that includes four anchor medical institutions and more than 40 health-related facilities.
On Oct. 14, zoning revisions gave the IMD new authority to recruit mixed-use development. By attracting multifamily housing, hospitality and service businesses alongside core life sciences real estate, the IMD maintains its competitive edge as a center for health science collaboration.
“Leading a modern medical campus in a historic 19th century urban neighborhood is a tremendous responsibility,” Hansen said. “My career has been focused on growing Chicago’s healthcare ecosystem to provide convenient high quality care. The Illinois Medical District is unique in that it provides a framework for partnership with both global partners and local stakeholders to improve health and wellness for the community. I’m excited for the opportunity to help make an impact.”
The 560-acre Illinois Medical District campus supports the healthcare, research, real estate development and technology transfer activities of Rush University Medical Center, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and the University of IllinoisHospital.
“Allyson knows not only how to develop health facilities from the ground up but also how to grow their business,” said Peter J. O’Brien, Sr., Chair of the IMD Board of Commissioners and President and CEO of MADO Management and the O’Brien’s Restaurant group. “She connects medical system stakeholders in innovative ways and focuses them on their mission to improve the health of our neighbors and the resilience of our communities. The Illinois Medical District will benefit from her growth mindset and ability to bring large institutions together around common goals.”
By bringing stakeholders together, the IMD fosters interprofessional collaboration among its academic, clinical, commercial and community partners.
“In a global competition for life sciences real estate, Allyson has the expertise to develop specialized medical office space and nurture a vibrant and healthy healthcare ecosystem,” O’Brien said. “Her leadership will elevate Chicago’s role in medicine and technology innovation. She will be a peer among anchor institutions to produce the foundation and platform for life-changing research, economic growth and community health.”
Hansen earned degrees as Master of Health Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of South Carolina, and has achieved certifications in various health technology, Lean Six Sigma, change management and communications practices. She advises emerging leaders and supports their career growth in the Menttium corporate mentoring network. Hansen lives in west suburban La Grange, where she serves on the community advisory council of Lyons Township High School.