Photo (from left to right):  Dr. Magda Houlberg, senior vice president and chief operations officer, health center operations, HBHC; Jamal M. Edwards, Esq., HBHC’s president and CEO; Queer Feminist Comic and LGBT Health Advocate Jessica Halem; Dr. Choucair; Karma Israelsen, board chair, HBHC and; Matt Nielson, board member, HBHC.

From: Alonzo Brown at Howard Brown Health Center

Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is proud to announce that Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health is the latest recipient of its prestigious Friend for Life Award. Choucair received the honor during a special reception held at the Mile North hotel in downtown Chicago.
 
The Friend for Life Award is bestowed upon individuals who have demonstrated continuous commitment, persistent advocacy and dedication of time and resources to promote the health and wellness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.
 
“We are proud to honor Dr. Choucair for his unwavering support of Howard Brown Health Center and promoting health and wellness for all Chicagoans, particularly in the LGBT and HIV communities,” says HBHC President and CEO Jamal M. Edwards, Esq.
 
Dr. Choucair was appointed Commissioner by former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley on November 25, 2009 and retained by current Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. He is on a continual quest to reshape the department to meet the public health challenges of the 21st century. Under Choucair’s leadership, the city developed its first ever comprehensive public health agenda designed to significantly improve the healthiness of all citizens called “Healthy Chicago.”
 
Notable to all of Chicago, a major focus of the agenda is on the reduction of HIV infection amongst all citizens, and the linkage into care for those who test positive.
 
As a supplement to the overall “Healthy Chicago” priorities, the commissioner, with his community partners, developed the LGBT Community Action Plan which establishes a key set of objectives for improving the health and wellness of the LGBT community. This roadmap serves not only as a national model, but highlights the city’s health care priorities for one of Chicago’s key constituencies.
 
Through Dr. Choucair’s work as commissioner of the city of Chicago’s Department of Public Health, he is responsible for ensuring the health and wellness all Chicagoans each day.
 
“Our work with the city is vital in educating and meeting the needs of those in the LGBT community and individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. And we look forward to our continued partnership,” added Edwards.