After more than a decade with the Chicago Dept. of Public Health ( CDPH ) , Assistant Commissioner Chris Brown will be stepping down from his position on March 15, 2012.
Brown, who's been responsible for the city's HIV/AIDS response, made the surprising announcement Feb. 17 at the Chicago Bar Association during a joint meeting of the Chicago Area HIV Service Planning Council and the Chicago HIV Prevention and Planning Group ( HPPG ) . Brown has accepted a job offer from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.
The joint session had been called to consider motions that would dissolve each of the HIV planning bodies, effective April 30, 2012. Passed by a roll call vote, the motions await final approval from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Dissolving the existing HIV bodies is a necessary first step in establishing a new Chicago-area HIV services council sometime in the near future. The new body will handle HIV policy that concerns prevention, care and housing; Mayor Emanuel will appoint council members.
The move toward one cohesive body is expected to bring Chicago in line with President Barack Obama's 2010 National HIV/AIDS Strategy, as well as guidelines established by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Those assembled at Friday's meeting bid Brown an emotional farewell. Since becoming the head of the health department's STD/HIV/AIDS division in 2001, Brown has established himself as one of the city's most valuable voices on HIV policy and prevention.
He served on the United States Conference of AIDS ( USCA ) Chicago Host Committee in November 2011, when the conference made its historic Chicago debut. And his decades-long career has earned him myriad advocacy and service awards.
Before joining the CDPH, he spent seven years at the Arizona Department of Health Services as the head of its HIV/STD/Hepatitis C Services office. Brown also devoted 11 years to HIV and STD programs at the Pima Country Health Department in Arizona.
This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.