Executive Leadership Team
President and CEO
David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO of the Howard Brown Health, has devoted his entire professional career to building comprehensive systems of care and prevention that meet the needs of vulnerable populations. Since joining Howard Brown in 2014, Munar has focused his efforts in ensuring the delivery of excellent health and wellness services to LGBTQ people and allies at the organization’s two clinics, research office, and homeless youth drop-in center in Chicago. Howard Brown also operates a chain of resale stores that generate unrestricted revenue to support its programs and services. Under Munar’s stewardship, Howard Brown increased its patient based by 25%, settled longstanding debt, and established a two-month operating reserve. The organization recently achieved Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status, a designation that will allow it to open a new satellite clinic on Chicago’s far northside. Munar oversees a staff of 250 employees with an annual operating budget of $38 million.
Prior to Howard Brown, Munar honed his career at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). He joined AFC in 1991 and, during his 23-year career at the agency, served as policy director, vice president of policy and communication, senior vice president, and president and CEO, a position he held from 2011 to 2014. As chief officer, Munar managed a $23 million portfolio of care, prevention and policy programs and services. His two decades of accomplishments fighting HIV/AIDS has advanced sound health policy locally and nationally. In 2007, he helped launch the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy, which led to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy unveiled by President Obama in July 2010. Together with AFC, Munar has championed voluntary HIV testing expansion efforts; shaped local policies and developed programs that curb HIV transmission among injection drug users; safeguarded funding for HIV prevention and HIV medication assistance programs; and worked closely with county, municipal, and state officials to support comprehensive systems to meet the needs of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Munar has also shaped public discourse on these topics, creating conversations that lead to education, advocacy and action.
Munar has served on numerous advisory councils for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources Services Administration, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and gubernatorial and mayoral transition teams. He has served on the governing boards of the Association of Latino Men in Action, Communities Advocating Emergency AIDS Relief Coalition, the Harm Reduction Coalition, National Association of People with AIDS, and AIDS Action Council, where he chaired the Policy Committee from 2008-2010.
He currently serves on the governing boards of the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Funders Concerned About AIDS, Center for Housing and Health, and Equality Illinois. His work has earned several accolades, including being named a Champion of Change by the White House in 2011. Munar represented the U.S. on a regional panel at the 2010 International AIDS Conference. He was a plenary speaker at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference, the 2009 Creating Change National Conference on LGBT Equality, and the Global AIDS Alliance’s 2008 National Democratic Convention gathering.
His original commentary and analysis has appeared on such media outlets as The Huffington Post, PreventionJustice.org, POZ, Lifelub.org, RHRealityCheck.org, Windy City Times, Positively Aware and the Chicago Free Press. He has been interviewed by CNN, CNN en Español, Telemundo Chicago, USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, XM Radio, HIV Plus, POZ Magazine, AIDS.gov, The Advocate, Washington Blade, Southern Voice, Bilerico Project, and others. Munar’s work draws on career experience and perspectives as a bilingual Colombian‐American and gay man living with HIV. He is an avid runner and graduate of Northwestern University.
Chief Operating Officer and Certified Physican Assistant
Kristin joined Howard Brown Health in 2005 as a Physician Assistant and became Director of Clinical Operations in 2010. She has most recently taken on the role of Associate Medical Director. Her medical practice focus includes LGBTQ care, women’s health, HIV medicine, health promotion and interdisciplinary medical care for populations at risk. Kristin has been the driving force behind numerous projects at Howard Brown including Alternative Insemination, Primary Care Opt- Out HIV testing, rapid Hepatitis C testing, and the expansion of service lines to include areas such as pediatrics. As part of an interdisciplinary team, Kristin provides medical care to a diverse population of patients. A Physician Assistant with a Master’s in Biochemistry, Kristin graduated from Marquette University in 2002. Kristin was selected to be a National Health Service Corps Scholar and was employed through the Corps from 2003-2005 serving the migrant population in central California. In 2010, she completed a fellowship at Kansas University in Community Health Center leadership and development. She has been the primary investigator and sub investigator on a number of clinical research trials, serves as Howard Brown’s Institutional Review Board chair, and manages numerous grants as program director. Kristin is passionate about community health and improving health outcomes in communities of need.
Chief Clinical Officer
Magda joined Howard Brown Health in 2008 as its Director of Geriatric Medicine and became Chief Clinical Officer in 2011. Her medical practice focus includes LGBTQ aging, HIV medicine, health promotion and interdisciplinary medical care for populations at risk. Magda has been the driving force behind the expansion of HBHC’s medical and social services for older LGBTQ adults, especially those aging with HIV. In particular, Magda has served as a medical provider and core staff member for the Chicago Elder Services Community Initiative, a collaborative project between Howard Brown Health Center, Rush University Medical Center, CJE-Senior Life, Heartland Alliance and Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care Center. As part of an interdisciplinary team, Magda provides medical care to LGBTQ older adults, training to local health care and social service providers to improve their competencies in working with LGBTQ seniors, and where appropriate, in-home care. An Internal Medicine Physician and Geriatrician, Magda graduated from Antioch College with a major in Biology. In 2004, she graduated from Rush University Medical College and went on to complete a residency there in internal medicine. She has completed a Fellowship in geriatric medicine and served as an assistant professor in the geriatric medicine section at Rush University Medical Center.
Senior Vice President, Policy, Strategy and Business Development
Prior to joining Howard Brown Health, Michelle was the Chief Executive Officer of Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministries (ABAM) (aka Bonaventure House, The Harbor, Bettendorf Place). During her tenure at ABAM, the annual budget doubled, they expanded their scattered site housing program, and they opened a new construction supportive housing facility on Chicago’s South Chicago. Michelle went to law school specifically to advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS. After graduating from DePaul University College of Law, Michelle worked for two years at Prairie State Legal Services and then at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF) in LAF’s HIV/AIDS Project for almost a decade. Although her specialty was housing law, she worked on every manner of civil litigation for clients living with HIV/AIDS. Before moving back to Chicago for law school, Michelle co-founded and led the AIDS Pastoral Care Network of West Michigan based in Holland, Michigan. This was an outgrowth of Michelle’s HIV/AIDS volunteer work with people living with AIDS in Chicago.
Chief Financial Officer
John H. McElwee has over 20 years of healthcare finance experience in nonprofit settings, and recently he was the CFO for Borgess Health’s medical group in Kalamazoo, MI. He earned his CPA license while working at Deloitte in the early 1990’s and obtained his MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. John’s focus on process improvement initiatives have increased patient satisfaction with the billing process, which can sometimes be the most confusing part of a patient’s healthcare experience. Originally from the Detroit area, John moved to West Michigan after graduating from Hope College where he earned his Bachelor of Administration degree in Business and Accounting. John also earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. John became a Certified Public Accountant while working for the Grand Rapids office of Deloitte & Touche, and was also a finance executive with Blue Care Network. He is a member of the Healthcare Finance Management Association.