Citywide health system Howard Brown/Howard Brown Health held its annual meeting the evening of Feb. 21 to pay tribute to its volunteers, staff, clients and community allies, and discuss service improvements the organization has made in the past year.
President and CEO David Ernesto Munar discussed increased access to mental health services as well as the completion of Howard Brown Health's first complete year providing oral health services. He also noted that the organization has increased the availability of services for transgender and gender nonconforming clients. Howard Brown Health Board Chair Mario Treto said that the organization aimed for "being a catalyst for community transformation."
Munar additionally noted a new Howard Brown Health facility, operating in tandem with La Casa Norte, in Humboldt Park.
"Our pursuit of geographic diversity has influenced Howard Brown as an advocate, employer and community leader," he added. "In the past four years, we have tripled the number of patients of color who seek our care, and half of our workforce is comprised of people of color. South side and West side patients have increased by 15-20 percent year-over-year, and we are so proud that the staff opening our new location in Humboldt Park are 100 percent bilingual and bicultural."
Among the persons and organizations whom Howard Brown officials honored at the meeting were United Way of Metro Chicago, which has provided funding for the organization's Broadway Youth Center, since 2003; Craig Andree, a Broadway Youth Center volunteer; and Lucretia Clay-Ward, Howard Brown Health's Suboxone [a medication used to treat opioid addiction] program coordinator.
Several Howard Brown Health clients provided testimonials about their experiences with the organization, among them David Hubbell, Cheno Pulliam and Eva Skye.
Pulliamwho was recently profiled in Windy City Timespraised the organization for welcoming "me with open arms. … Howard Brown has opened the door for so many things."