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The idea for the Community Health Education Center grew from three partners who recognized the increasing complexity of health care and the ongoing and growing need for heath care information for consumers.

Three women display artwork from around the consumer health library.These partners, the MCV Hospitals Auxiliary, VCU Health System and VCU Libraries, secured 2,225 square feet of space in the expanding Gateway Building. Task forces began planning with Judy Jones, active volunteer and auxiliary president, in a leadership role. The partners raised funds to complete the center. Fundraising included a gala to mark the grand opening, which was held concurrently with the opening of the new Gateway Building. First Lady Laura Bush and Virginia elected officials were among the esteemed guests at the opening in 2002.

Today, CHEC remains one of a very few similar consumer health libraries that is tied not only to a top-tier academic medical library–the nearby Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences–but also to a major university medical center.

CHEC serves patients, their families and professionals within the health care community who refer patients to the resources at CHEC. Some 1,300 people visit the center monthly to seek information about health and wellness. Services are free.