Howard Brown Health Center under federal investigation

Tue. April 27, 2010 12:00 AM by Brett Anthony

howard brown health center

HBHC names Jamal Edwards as new CEO as center is now under federal probe

Chicago, IL - Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is under federal investigation for allegations it mishandled federal funds associated with a decades-long AIDS study, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The investigation by the National Institutes of Health involves research grant funding tied to the Multi Center AIDS Cohort Study, or MACS, an ongoing study of HIV-infected men.

"We recognize that the last few weeks have been wrought with questions and concerns," Paul Fairchild, Howard Brown's interim chief operating officer, said in the statement published by the Tribune. "We want to ensure the community that the integrity of the research surrounding the MACS or any other study at Howard Brown has not been questioned. Our staff stands ready to provide the highest quality of research and the standard of care that our community expects and deserves."

In a press release, the center says it is cooperating with the investigation and has launched an independent audit of all federal grants. In the prepared statement, the board also says it has "no reason to believe that any funds were misappropriated for personal gain or used for purposes other than the center's mission and services."

The release also confirmed a report by the Windy City Times two weeks ago that Howard Brown had transferred its lead agency status to Northwestern University, a partner in the MACS research.

HBHB's Chief Executive Officer Michael Cook and Chief Financial Officer Mark Joslyn resigned earlier this month.

Amid the turmoil, the center has named Chicago attorney Jamal Edwards as CEO effective June 1.

The center's board has come under fire from community leaders concerning the "wall of silence."

"The board itself has battened down the hatches and is engaging in a code of silence; there is no transparency," Equality Illinois public policy director Rick Garcia told the Windy City Times.

Howard Brown is one of the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered health care organizations.

Related: Read more reaction from community leaders concerning Howard Brown in the Windy City Times feature by Yasmin Nair