As a part of Mayor Jim Maloof’s “Forward Peoria” program in 1986, the Health Care Services Committee conducted a needs survey of both public and private schools and churches within a 100 mile radius of Peoria. The findings from this study confirmed the need for comprehensive health education programming to supplement the health education efforts of parents, schools, civic groups, youth organizations, social service agencies, and health care providers.
Dr. Stephen and Patti Bash used this research to create their dream of an organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles for individuals of all ages through preventative education and personal decision-making. The first Board of Directors and Officers were elected in 1986, and have been holding monthly meetings ever since. In January of 1987 the organization was incorporated and became named the Marvin Hult Health Education Center, named after local businessman and philanthropist Marvin Hult.
After years of planning and meetings, construction on the facility began in September of 1989. After a year of work, construction was completed in October of 1990 and Hult Center officially opened its doors to the public on October 29, 1990.
In 1996, an organization that would later become part of Hult Center was formed. The Cancer Center for Healthy Living was founded by a group of people touched by cancer, six of whom were cancer patients or survivors. These individuals were brought together by their common need for support beyond their medical treatment. They felt there was a lack of emotional support services in the Central Illinois area and, in turn, developed their own vision to meet the needs of thousands of cancer patients , survivors, and their families and friends. Though it was housed in the Hult Center’s building, the Cancer Center for Healthy Living was governed by their own board of directors who set policies, program guidelines, and funding sources.
In 2005, Hult Center for Health Education ranked #1 out of 37 health education centers in the areas of data collection, research, and research effectiveness according to Dr. David Birch, Chair of the Department of Health Sciences at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. That same year the Center served as a board member on the National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC).
In April 2011, Hult Center for Health Education and Cancer Center for Healthy Living officially merged into one organization known as Hult Center for Healthy Living.
As of September 1, 2013, Mental Health America of Illinois Valley, formerly the Mental Health Association, merged into Hult Center for Healthy Living.
In 1933, the Peoria Mental Hygiene Society was established with the mission of developing an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic. The Peoria Mental Hygiene Society established the Mental Health Clinic of Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties in 1957. In 1959, the mental health services of the Peoria Mental Hygiene Society were divided into two components: treatment and education. Mental Health America of Illinois Valley (MHAIV) provided the education component and was born of this separation of services. Since 1959, Mental Health America of Illinois Valley has been committed to providing education, prevention, advocacy and outreach.
With Mental Health America of Illinois Valley merging into Hult Center for Healthy Living, Hult Center expands its’ services to include the ever-growing need for mental health programs. Now, health education, cancer, senior, and mental health programs are collectively housed under Hult Center for Healthy Living to better and more efficiently serve the community.
As we continue to grow and offer new services and programs to the community and surrounding area, our goal will continue to be to “empower people to live healthier lives.”