Jamal Edwards has resigned as CEO of Howard Brown Health Center, the region’s largest LGBT healthcare organization, effective today.
The announcement comes after a tumultuous two-year tenure in which Edwards brought significant staffing changes and ushered in a financial recovery following the misappropriation of federal funds, which imperiled the cornerstone LGBT healthcare agency with massive penalties and repayment of the funds.
In his place, Howard Brown’s board of directors has appointed Board Chairwoman Karma Israelsen as interim president and CEO. It also named current Vice-Chairman Duke Alden as the interim board chairman.
Edwards will pursue other opportunities, according to a statement issued by Howard Brown. When asked for further information on this, a spokesperson said they did not have that information.
“I joined Howard Brown Health Center with the sole intention of solving the organization’s immediate financial and legal problems. I am proud to say that we have accomplished that and more in a very short amount of time, bringing effective long-term solutions to many issues,” Edwards said in a statement. “It has been an honor to be a part of the transformation of this now highly-innovative organization that makes such a tremendous impact in the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the Midwest and beyond.”
Howard Brown officials convened on site to inform staff and supporters of the transition and reiterate the organization’s mission to provide quality health services to the LGBT community, according to the statement.
“Our staff members provide quality healthcare services to the community and are Howard Brown Health Center’s most important asset,” said Israelsen. “We want them to know that we are taking steps to ensure this transition goes smoothly and to encourage them to continue providing the critical services that our clients expect from us.”
Israelsen joined the board of directors in July 2010 and took the helm of the board as part of the agency’s effort to recover from the financial crisis, which was averted when supporters donated to its “lifeline” effort. With her transition into leadership, the organization will review its goals and strategies and continue to work with stakeholders through the process, Israelsen said.
Israelsen also praised Edwards for his contributions to Howard Brown’s recovery from the financial crisis.
“Jamal has provided strong leadership and gave Howard Brown Health Center what it needed — a path to financial stability — at a critical time in our organization’s history,” she said.
The board of directors will announce plans for its CEO search at a later date.
Chicago Phoenix will continue to update this story with more information.