About 300 well-wishers gathered March 21 at Joffrey Ballet's downtown studios for Howard Brown Health's annual community meeting and update.
Officials at the gathering spoke about recent developments and upcoming plans, and paid tribute to community members and staff who made a difference in the local health organization's operations in the previous year.
Chicago Community Trust and photographer Kat Fitzgerald, a frequent Windy City Times contributor, were among those honored.
Howard Brown Health Board Executive Vice Chair Bethany Pagels-Minor recalled first meeting Fitzgerald, as well as her first impression: "Whoever this person is, I want to be just like her."
Chief Operating Officer Keglovitz-Baker and R. Todd Hargan, M.D., further honored Practice Manager Shonita Lewis. Keglovitz-Baker said of Lewis, "Through the hard times, through the best times, you always put the patient first."
Board Chair Mario Treto opened the proceedings, and President/CEO David Munar closed them. Munar said that the organization had hosted about 100,000 patient visits for behavioral health, primary care and outpatient services in the previous year.
"In 2017, Howard Brown stretched our mission like we've never done it before," he said.
The upcoming developments for Howard Brown Health include starting providing medical services for clients of La Casa Norte, an organization focused on serving youths experiencing homelessness, as well as opening a new facility in Humboldt Park in November. With an increased focus on behavioral health, Howard Brown Health will have a counseling center at Irving Park and Sheridan roads as well.
Munar also said that the organization would offer a needs assessment for students, artists and service workers.
"Howard Brown belongs to Chicago," Munar said. "It belongs to the LGBTQ community, and it belongs to you."