Reimagining Comprehensive Health & Wellcare in Underserved Communities — Peter W. McCauley, Sr.

Inspiration And Insights
4 min readJul 5, 2022
Focal Point Community Campus Aerial View

The healthcare system in the United States is burdened with inequity, especially in terms of access to healthcare professionals and services. Residents in underserved communities — mainly ethnic and racial minorities of lower economic status — face multiple obstacles in achieving good health. Many solutions have been proposed, but one in particular stands out for creating a self-sustaining model: the Focal Point Community Campus that is being developed in Chicago.

We’re in conversation with Dr. Peter W. McCauley, Sr., a practicing pediatrician, Medical Officer for Cigna Health Care, and a member of Focal Point’s Advisory Council. Dr. McCauley’s experience in providing community healthcare service, coupled with his business acumen, provide a distinctive perspective on this one-of-a-kind, mixed-use community development.

What is the Focal Point Community Campus? How did this project come about?

The project is designed to address multiple needs of an underserved community. The Focal Point campus is going to be located in the Little Village and Pilsen communities in Chicago. Historically, that community has been under resourced with regards to healthy food choices, healthcare services, education, safety and job creation.

Within the Pilsen neighborhood is Saint Anthony Hospital, an small independent hospital founded in 1898. After nearly 125 years of service, it’s time for a new hospital campus. Several years ago, the leaders of Saint Anthony Hospital had the idea of not only redeveloping the hospital but incorporating a concept that would be built around five pillars: early childhood development, education, wellness, affordable housing, and workforce development. Over the last ten years, the leadership has worked to bring the project to fruition and we’re on the verge of getting it started.

How did you become involved with Focal Point? How have you been able to bring your experiences and expertise into play?

A friend of mine, Dorval R. Carter, Jr. is on Saint Anthony’s board of directors. His father, Dorval R. Carter, Sr. MD was one of my role models, and the Chairman of the Saint Anthony’s Department of Obstetrics Gynecology. He served as a formidable advocate & leader of Saint Anthony Hospital. I was brought in about three years ago with the main focus of my initial input around fundraising. As we get closer to the actual design phase of the project, the group has requested that I also assist with innovative thinking around healthcare delivery consistent with the Advisory Council’s objective of integrating the community into the project in a way that’s meaningful and sustainable. We have the opportunity not only to build a new hospital facility, but also to set up the ancillary services that effectively can keep people out of the hospital while delivering necessary healthcare.

So Focal Point is taking a proactive approach to serving the community.

Absolutely. The organization has looked at the needs of the community. They’ve been very involved in community meetings, gaining local legislative support, and enlisting community organizations. They’ve taken all of the input and designed a project that the community not only will use, but also needs and will ultimately find of value.

What have you learned in this process? What is your takeaway right now?

I’ve learned that anything is possible. There were so many hurdles both with gaining support and with respect to the property acquisition, but this group got it done. Even with slowdowns caused by the pandemic, the leadership at Saint Anthony’s worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get the project to the point where it is now. “Anything is possible.”

This sounds like a very personal project for you.

It really is. I grew up with a group of friends who remain committed to our communities. It’s a blessing to have continued meaningful experiences with people like Dorval, who is the definition of public service; and to be able to combine forces with him by bringing necessary development and hope to a community that’s underserved.

Thank you, Dr. McCauley, for your insights into this fascinating project.

For more information on the Focal Point Community Campus, click here

Peter W. McCauley, Sr. has a 30 year track record of profitable, inclusive health care leadership. He is a well-respected, actively practicing pediatrician serving Chicago’s far south side for over 24 years. His expertise in value-based health care, combined with the ability to lead and influence provider groups and hospital systems to adopt this reimbursement model vs. standard fee for service, helps to improve quality outcomes for patients while making health care more affordable for all.