Following 10 years of dedicated leadership, David Ernesto Munar has decided to step down as President and CEO of Howard Brown Health. His last day will be on February 29, 2024.
"The board celebrates David's work to expand and support equitable access to affirming care for the Chicago LGBTQ+ community," said Mike Mazzeo, Chair of the Board of Directors. "The board of directors and the organization overall are grateful for his leadership and vision this past decade. We thank David for his dedicated service to Howard Brown and to our communities."
Munar first connected with Howard Brown in the early 1990s as a patient. It was at Howard Brown where he received his HIV diagnosis in 1994. For two decades, he served as an institutional partner and funder of Howard Brown's work in his leadership roles at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. When Munar became President and CEO in 2014, Howard Brown provided primary care and sexual health services to fewer than 8,000 patients at three locations in Uptown and Lakeview.
Under his leadership, Howard Brown has transformed into a $200 million healthcare organization that now offers comprehensive and affirming care to more than 38,000 patients at 10 locations across Chicago. Notable achievements include Howard Brown Health's recognition as a federally qualified health center (FQHC), expansion to serve the South and Northwest Sides of Chicago, and redefining community care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It has been the honor of my life to lead an organization that has meant so much to me, my family, and the LGBTQ+ community, especially those of us affected by HIV," David Munar said. "Given the explosion of political and cultural attacks against us, standing up for our rights and meeting our community's needs is more important than ever. I am proud to have played a part in shepherding Howard Brown's growth to combat stigma, discrimination, and health inequities across Chicago."
More recently, Munar has overseen quality-improvement projects like the opening of a permanent home for the Broadway Youth Center, the transition to a modern electronic health record system (EHR), and construction of a new anchor health center in the heart of the Northalsted community. In the past year, Howard Brown has also achieved its highest patient satisfaction scores and has served more patients than any other time in its 50-year history.
"The board has begun a comprehensive process of identifying new leadership for the organization, which will incorporate and engage internal stakeholders as well as the broader community," said Mazzeo.
In the meantime, the executive leadership team, providers and other staff members will continue to ensure that all patients receive the culturally competent, affirming care they expect at Howard Brown.