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.
International Mr. Leather 2012 returns to Chicago to celebrate its 35th anniversary. This event takes place over Memorial Day weekend, May 25 – 29. Three different levels of weekend packages will be available, each offering its own unique features.  For more information, event schedules and applications, go to

Posted on March 18, 2011
by David Cohen

CHICAGO–– Howard Brown Health Center is honored to host Chaz Bono, renowned advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and social justice, as the featured speaker at The Lifeline Celebration on May 6, 2011 at the Palmer House Hilton, downtown Chicago.

In addition to sharing his personal journey at the main event, Bono will visit Howard Brown Health Center’s Sheridan Road Clinic earlier that day for an Open House on LGBT health and will participate in a panel discussion. Details about this public program are currently TBA.

“Chaz Bono is strong voice nationally for the LGBT community in general and for the transgender community specifically,” said Jamal Edwards, President and CEO. “For years, we have provided quality and cutting-edge health services to the transgender community including our new informed consent hormone protocol, THInC. We are thrilled that Chaz will be speaking and sharing his time with our patients, staff and supporters at Howard Brown and our Lifeline Celebration. It’s part of our broader and deep commitment to providing quality care to LBGTQ people.”

As the only child of famed entertainers Sonny and Cher, Bono used his celebrity spotlight to become one of the most recognized leaders for LGBT rights and social justice as an advocate, author and speaker. Recently, Bono shared his first-person account of a 40-year transformation from female to male in his biography, Transition. The book inspired a film documentary of Bono’s experiences in transforming from female to male in Becoming Chaz, which received a standing ovation at its debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

“Chicago is home to an active and vibrant LGBT community, and I’m very excited to have an opportunity to share my story as a transgender man,” said Bono. “It is not easy to find compassionate, quality healthcare as a transperson.  I am thankful that an organization such as Howard Brown exists, because it provides much needed care to those who might not otherwise be able to access or afford it. ”

Following the afternoon’s events, Bono will mingle with guests during the Premier VIP reception of The Lifeline Celebration at 5:30 p.m. The evening’s Main Event begins at 6:30 p.m. and features a personal address by Bono and the presentation of Howard Brown’s annual Friends for Life awards.  Benefit guests can savor culinary specialties, sip champagne and cocktails and enjoy a raffle to raise funds to support Howard Brown’s Lifeline Appeal and its health and wellness services to the community.

Proceeds from The Lifeline Celebration will support Howard Brown’s ongoing work to meet the needs of more than 36,000 people with lifesaving health care services and a myriad of comprehensive programs to support the wellness of the entire LGBTQA community.

Tickets to the Premier VIP Champagne Reception, which features a mixer with Bono and opportunities to bid on signature raffle tickets, are $250.  Admission to the Main Event, which features savory treats, cocktails, raffles and an address given by Bono, is $100.

For more information about The Lifeline Celebration and to purchase tickets, please visit or call (773) 388-1600.


Pictured above: Chicago House CEO Reverend Stan Sloan reflects on the agency’s 25 years in service; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joins CH at their annual Speaker Series, December 2010.

Posted on November 12, 2010
Source: Chicago House press release

Chicago, IL – This year Chicago House commemorates 25 years of care to Chicagoans with HIV and AIDS. In 1985, a courageous group of community volunteers formed Chicago House, the first organization in the Midwest to provide housing for people with HIV and AIDS. This year, we celebrate the accomplishments of this extraordinary organization which has guided more than 1,200 people to wholeness and self-sufficiency each year.

Over the past 25 years, Chicago House has come to be the leader in housing and supportive services for people affected by HIV and AIDS. But as the realities of these diseases change, one remains the same: Chicago House was there at the beginning, and will be here until the cure.

“Recently someone offered their congratulations for our 25 years of excellence in service and wished us well for our next 25 years,” says Reverend Stan J Sloan, CEO of Chicago House. “I remember having a visceral reaction, ‘God forbid that we don’t have a cure for HIV/AIDS by 2035!’ That’s when it hit me – back in 1985, our founders must have surely felt the same way about the year 2010.” Sloan adds, “as we mark this important year in our history, we remain so grateful for the founders, donors and clients who have guided the agency thus far, and we promise, with the support of our friends, to maintain our services and mission until there is a cure.”

Annually Chicago House hosts four different signature events: Speaker Series Luncheon (12/9), Champagne Wrapture (1/27), Brunch & Fashion Show (5/1) and Birdhouse Art Auction (6/23), as well as over 25 different cooperative community event fundraisers which comprise almost 20% of the agency’s annual operating budget.

“We are so excited to have former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as our 25th Anniversary Guest for our annual Speaker Series in December,” says Sloan.  “Albright continues to be a prophetic voice in discussing the role of America in the world and the implications of that role on our citizens and domestic policy.  HIV/AIDS and homelessness are the major issues addressed by Chicago House, and to have Madeleine Albright with us to help explore the economic implications of our country’s policies both domestically and abroad will be perfect in these difficult economic times, and the perfect platform to discuss the state of HIV and AIDS 25 years after our founding.”

Chicago House provides permanent, community-based housing, supportive services, and prevention outreach to individuals and families struggling with HIV and AIDS. All Chicago House services are provided without discrimination and are designed to guide people towards wholeness and self-sufficiency.  As the first HIV and AIDS housing provider in the Midwest , Chicago House has continuously evolved its services to meet the changing needs of those who are living with these diseases. Many come to us with the added burdens of poverty, homelessness, few if any job skills, substance abuse and mental illness. Through its housing, prevention and medication adherence programs, plus case management and employment programs, Chicago House enables them to return to a life of dignity and hope.

For tickets to the 2010 Speaker Series, contact Junnie Cross at 773.248.5200 (ext. 303) or visit

Photo: Judy Shepard and President Obama

by David Cohen

The Center on Halsted recently named Judy Shepard the keynote speaker to cultural center’s  H.E.A.L. wellness series. The press release, including the H.E.AL. series schedule, is posted below:
Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, speaks at Center on Halsted as part of H.E.A.L. Ourselves: Opening Eyes, Closing Wounds Thursday, September 30, 7PM.
Speaking from a mother’s perspective, Judy Shepard has made the prevention of hate crimes the focus of her efforts, and urges her audiences to make their schools and communities safer for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or gender identity and/or expression.
Mrs. Shepard’s keynote speech is the highlight of a series of advocacy events in Chicago related to anti-LGBT hate violence. Center on Halsted has created this programming to increase advocacy in response to violence, engagement in violence prevention efforts, and healing in our communities.

See below for the full schedule.
H.E.A.L. Ourselves: Opening Eyes, Closing Wounds (Healing, Engaging, Acting, Lifting)
Wednesday, September 29 – Friday, October 1
“Hear Me Out!”
Speaker: Greg Baird. Wednesday, September 29, 7:30PM. $5. online at, or at the door.
Greg Baird will present his lecture “Hear Me Out,” filled with stories and a motivating message of compassion in embracing a diverse community together for both gay and straight communities.
Greg is multi-faceted speaker with heart and wit, and he’s spoken around the country on topics like LGBTQ issues, diversity, acceptance, coming out, community, hate crimes and more. Greg explores how the LGBTQ community is faced with discrimination and the challenges involved with telling their families, friends and co-workers about their sexual orientation. He also focuses on the importance of diversity, community, acceptance and how everyone must contribute to the greater good of our communities.
He is the executive producer of an new documentary film with 89-Second Productions that explores the 1998 hate murder of Matthew Shepard and the town of Laramie, Wyoming eleven years later. The film focuses on educating young people in dealing with hate crimes, and Matthew’s continued impact on hate crime legislation.
Safer Schools: What’s My Role in Addressing Homophobia and Transphobia?
Speakers: Judy Shepard and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
Thursday, September 30, 9AM-2PM
A forum for educators, social workers, counselors and administrators only.
H.E.A.L. Ourselves Community Healing Event
Friday, October 1, 4PM-8PM on the 3rd floor. FREE and open to the public
Join us for an evening of activities including art, open mic, musical performances and a community healing ceremony to conclude the H.E.A.L. Ourselves series. Queer organizations will share local activism opportunities to demand accountability and create safer spaces so that LGBT people—young and old—can go through life free from the threat of hate.
Posted on August 27, 2010

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will speak about the Affordable Care Act and its effect on seniors Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at Center on Halsted.

The Affordable Care Act gives consumers the right to appeal decisions, including claims denials and ressissions, made by their health insurers. For the first time, consumers will have the right to appeal decisions to an outside, independent decision-maker, no matter what state they live in or what type of health coverage they have. President Obama announced these new regulations on July 22, 2010. For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit

The talk will be held in the John Baran Senior Center at Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60613, on Tuesday, August 31 from 12-12:30PM.  Any interested attendees are encouraged to RSVP with Hope Barrett (hbarrett[at] or 773.472.6469 (ext. 178), Senior Director of Public Programs.
Posted on April 23, 2010
by David Cohen
Howard Brown Health Center Presents: The Gown Elephant: Runway Clothing, Resale Prices.

Join us for a showcase and sale of gently used and new designer evening wear, donated by many of Chicago’s most stylish philanthropists. “Get your gown on” atThe Gown Elephan t! Find runway gowns and garments at great resale prices, sample the open martini bar, and be fashionably philanthropic!
Please come and support this event on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 6:00-9:00PM at the Brown Elephent in Andersonville, 5404 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640. Tickets: Only $25 ($50 at the door)!
All the clothing offered at the event has been graciously donated from the closets of Chicago’s most notable women and will all be available at resale prices.
Posted on March 5, 2010 by David Cohen

The 2010 Chicago Flower & Garden Show is back again at Navy Pier and will be open this coming Saturday March 6, through Sunday March 14.
Attend some of  the seminars where you will be able to learn the secrets of gardening from leading experts in the filed. Some of the experts who are going to be at the show this year will share their knowledge with the you.
    Award-winning landscape architect and garden designer Craig Bergmann, will talk about Making Art in the Garden. Since 1982, Craig Bergmann Landscape Design Inc. has specialized in putting a Midwestern modern-day twist on the classic garden designs of Europe . His  work has been featured in several books, on PBS-TV’s “The Victory Garden” and on HGTV’s “Gardener’s Journal.”
    Author and television personality Charlie Nardozzi will share tips from his latest book Vegetable Gardening for Dummies. The  horticulture educator of the University of Illinois Nancy Pollard, will teach you how to Farm Your own Patio. Another perennial favorite from previous shows, is the famous PBS television host Melinda Myers, who will talk this year about Planning and Plants for a Small Space Garden.
    Attendance to all seminars is included in the price of show admission. To confirm seminar times, dates and subjects visit
Opens: Monday to Saturday, 10am-8pm • adults $15 • children 4-12 years $5. Sundays 10am-6pm • adults $17 • children 4-12 years $5. Tickets can be ordered online at, where no service fee is charged. They also can be purchased at the door.