Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center, originally formed in October 1974 by a handful of medical students and community volunteers to provide gay men with low-cost, confidential testing for sexually transmitted diseases, marked its 30th anniversary with a gala celebration on October 30. Friend for Life Awards were presented at the anniversary gala to ABC-7 broadcaster Ron Magers, socialite Bunky Cushing, Lesbian Community Cancer Project president Marsha East, and Howard Brown's Craig Hogan. Michael Orland, associate music director for Fox TV's American Idol, served as emcee for the event.
The agency has evolved over the past 30 years to provide a wide range of health care and support services to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community as well as to people living with HIV and AIDS. The agency was named in honor of Illinois native and openly gay physician Howard Brown, appointed in 1966 as New York City's first commissioner of health and health services and a founding member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in 1973. Today, more than 150 staff members and volunteers work at the agency.
"We are celebrating the birthday of a health center which is now known nationally and internationally for providing highly sophisticated, world-class treatment for all members of our community," said Keith Waterbrook, executive director of Howard Brown. "We treat those who are infected with HIV and those who merely come for a routine physical. We are the experts, and people come to us from all over the world for advice and training. This is a real tribute to all of the people who have guided Howard Brown throughout the last 30 years."