CHICAGO, Aug. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Jamal M. Edwards, Esquire announced today that he is resigning as president and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC). After completing two successful fiscal years of leadership, including a multi-million dollar financial turnaround of the organization, nearly doubling the health center's number of patients and clients, and significant private and public grant awards, Edwards has decided the timing is right for him to explore new opportunities and transition control of HBHC to new leadership.
"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," said Edwards of his departure. "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. This experience has been among the most rewarding of my professional career and one for which I will always be grateful; but the time has come to move on for certain personal and professional reasons."
A licensed attorney and a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, one of the nation's largest law firms, Edwards was hired by HBHC in June 2010 to address significant legal challenges and to establish financial stability for the health center and in the past two years has brought tremendous improvement and growth to the organization. Edwards feels he has satisfied the "calling" that drew him from his partnership at Kirkland & Ellis LLP to HBHC. Given the significant turnaround, he feels the organization is in a stable position to continue its strong path with new leadership. Edwards also cites personal reasons for resigning including wanting to spend more time with his four-year-old son.
During his time at HBHC, Edwards' accomplishments earned him the respect of his peers. "I am honored to have had Jamal as a colleague. He has been a fearless innovator and an incredibly strong leader," states Howard Brown SVP and COO Dr. Magda Houlberg, MD. "Jamal marshaled HBHC through a challenging time, brought unparalleled vision, and broadened the organization's horizons in a way no previous leader was able to accomplish. I respect his incredible work ethic and willingness to step into this very difficult and challenging role as CEO at what was probably the most critical time HBHC has ever experienced."
Upon learning that Jamal Edwards was leaving as President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center, Illinois Primary Health Care Association President & CEO Bruce Johnson stated, "Jamal Edwards is a tireless leader and has worked countless hours on behalf of the patients and Chicago communities served by Howard Brown Health Center. A devoted advocate for the underserved, Jamal is a true asset to community change in Chicago. His passion for improving the health of others, especially those in the LGBT community, is unwavering. Jamal's leadership in the arena of community health care will be missed."
Under Edwards' leadership and commitment to improving HBHC, the organization has experienced a significant turnaround including:
- Two successive years with surpluses after five years of record deficits, leaving the organization over $5 million in the red. The organization posted an audited surplus of $1.2M and positive net assets of almost $400,000 after Edwards' first year. In his second year, the center recorded a preliminary surplus of approximately $900,000, net assets of over $1M and reduced its total liabilities by nearly $500,000 (audit of fiscal year 2012 is currently pending). Edwards also negotiated a highly favorable settlement and resolution of a federal investigation of past mismanagement by the prior administration, which protected HBHC's future ability to receive federal funds as well as saving the center millions of dollars in damages, penalties and interest.
- Nearly doubling HBHC's patient volume to 15,000 patients in fiscal year 2012, compared to just over 8,000 in 2011. In addition, securing a new and prime location (formerly occupied by Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group) for one of their clinical sites, which will quadruple HBHC's clinical capacity and will allow the organization to add several new service lines, including pediatrics, family medicine and oral health.
- Earning HBHC's largest corporate grant of $250,000 from the GE Foundation in 2011, which provided seed funding for the "Lifecycle" program to serve the community's children, adults, seniors and families throughout their entire lifetime, beginning at birth and continuing through the aging process.
- Receiving an increase of nearly 100 percent in one of HBHC's key Ryan White HIV care grants for a total award of $1.5 Million, as well as a $75,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to expand primary care services, and a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to support youth health services.
- Developing relationships with several new community partners, including Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, Thorek Memorial Hospital and Analyte Health.
- Growing HBHC's relationships with Walgreens, Advocate Healthcare, Advocate Medical Group and Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Illinois Department of Public Health and Chicago Department of Public Health.
- Maintaining HBHC's staff, without pay cuts or layoffs in 2010 despite threats to close the organization during that year. The health center is now forecasting a total of 200 employees by the end of the fiscal year 2013, which Edwards helped increase by 50 starting in 2010.
- Increasing health benefits for the center's staff and eliminating a $1,200 deductible that previously applied to all health services for employees. In 2011, Edwards also offered a total of 4% compensation increases for non-executive staff over the past two years in an era of closures, layoffs and pay cuts at many other organizations.
Edwards' accomplishments have been prominently recognized by the business community, including Crain's Chicago Business who named him to their coveted "40 Under 40" list in 2011 as well as fellow colleagues. "For the past several decades, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center has been privileged to partner with HBHC. Jamal has proven himself to be a driven and successful leader, and we have enjoyed our most recent, productive collaboration," said Regional Vice President of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Michael Swarzman. "We are extremely proud of what our two organizations have accomplished together, particularly in providing much-needed clinical care and coordinating resources to improve overall service to our community."
Other top organizations feel the same. "We've enjoyed working with Jamal and watching his passion, hard work and innovative vision for Howard Brown Health Center and the community and how he has helped improve the organization over the past two years," said Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group President Daniel Derman, M.D. "We will miss working with him and wish him well in his future endeavors and wish the best for Howard Brown."
William A. Streff, Jr., a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, recognizes Edwards' tremendous achievements. "Kirkland & Ellis, LLP is proud of the work it has done over many years, together with Jamal M. Edwards, to assist HBHC through pro bono legal representation. We wish Jamal well in his future endeavors," said Streff.
Edwards' plans to begin exploring his many options, which may include returning to practice law at his former law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP or another organization, leading his family's multi-million dollar real estate business or starting a social enterprise of his own, continuing his work at another health care organization, or simply spending more time with his family while assessing the potential opportunities that may come about in the future.
About Jamal M. Edwards, Esq.
Appointed President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) on June 1, 2010, Jamal M. Edwards, Esq. brought a wealth of business and legal insight to one of the nation's and Midwest's largest healthcare and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning community and its allies (LGBTQA) and persons affected by HIV/AIDS. Edwards accepted the CEO at a time when the organization faced a financial crisis after a federal investigation revealed mismanagement of millions of dollars in grant funds by past leadership. After his first year, HBHC regained the trust of its major stakeholders, overcame five years of record deficits, and was out of the red with fiscal year 2011 results yielding a surplus of over $1M. Under Edwards' leadership, HBHC started serving more people than ever and its budget grew from $16M and is forecasted to exceed $22M at the conclusion of fiscal year 2013. His leadership has received significant local and national acclaim, including Crain's Chicago Business who named Edwards to its coveted "40 under 40" list for 2011.
Edwards also serves on a number of prestigious boards, including serving as Treasurer of the Board of Managers for the Alliance of Chicago Community Health Centers, L3C, a Trustee of the Ravenswood Healthcare Foundation, Chairman of the Alliance for Community Research, Engagement and Support, on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association and the Social Enterprise Alliance-Chicago Chapter, and on the External Advisory Committee for Northwestern University's Community Engaged Research Center.
Edwards is a licensed attorney and was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, LLP (one of the nation's largest and most prestigious law firms) where he also served as pro-bono general counsel to HBHC, prior to becoming its CEO. Edwards is a proud alumnus of Morehouse College, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Outside of his professional career, Edwards is just as committed. He is an active philanthropist, plays piano and is civically and politically active. Above all, he is a very proud parent of his four-year-old adopted son.
SOURCE Jamal M. Edwards