Chef Fresh Roberson Elected Board Chair of Howard Brown Health

Roberson to be the First Black Woman to Serve as Board Chair in Howard Brown’s History

(Chicago, IL, June 30, 2021) – Today, Howard Brown Health announced the Board of Directors has elected Chef Fresh Roberson as its next Chair after serving as Executive Vice Chair, Secretary, and Board Member at large since July, 2016. Roberson’s tenure as Board Chair will begin July 1, 2021. 

Roberson (they/them, she/her) succeeds Mario Treto, Jr., as Chair, a position he has held since July 1, 2017.

“To begin serving as Chair of Howard Brown Health’s Board of Directors during a pandemic is a challenge I am ready for,” said Roberson. “I’m thankful to Mario Treto Jr., David Ernesto Munar and the staff of Howard Brown, and my board colleagues for guiding Howard Brown through the pandemic response to date.  Their work has established Howard Brown as a leader in the fight for health equity.

“In addition to furthering our COVID-19 activities, I’m looking forward to providing leadership as Howard Brown prepares for a major expansion; addressing the connections between food access and healthcare outcomes; focusing on Howard Brown’s South Side presence and partnerships; and supporting LGBTQ youth through a new, expanded Broadway Youth Center. I will also focus on organizational efforts to continue expanding Howard Brown’s services for families, including pediatrics, family planning services, and OB/GYN offerings.”

Chef Fresh Roberson is the founder of Fresher Together LLC. Fresher Together is a collaborative food and farming project for healing, economic development, training and retreat. Roberson is fighting for accessible quality affirming healthcare for all. They are deeply passionate about food programming being commonplace in healthcare and providing healthcare free of body shaming.

Treto became Howard Brown’s first Latinx Board Chair, serving for four years during a time of unprecedented growth for the organization.

“Serving as Board Chair for the past four years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” said Treto. “Howard Brown has always been a leader in public health in Chicago and the nation, and our pandemic response has once again demonstrated how vital it is to respond quickly and with community input in times of need. I look forward to supporting Chef Fresh in her new role as Board Chair, and also furthering more initiatives for our Latinx patients and community partners.”  Treto, who serves as Acting Secretary of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and is a member of Governor JB Pritzker’s cabinet, will remain on the Board as Immediate Past Chair.

Howard Brown’s Board also elected officers Jared Lewis, Executive Vice Chair; Austin Baidas, Treasurer; B. Pagels-Minor, Secretary; and Maliyah Arnold, Mike Mazzeo, and W. Robert Schultz III, Vice Chairs at large. The Board also elected the following individuals as new board members in 2020 and 2021:  Tomilola Akinfe, DNP, APHN, RN, Maliyah Arnold, Elliot Crigger, PhD, Javier Guevara, MD, FAAFP, Cris Johnson, Jennifer Purcell, JD, and Rashad Robison.


Media Inquiries:
Erik Roldan, Director of Communications and Marketing

Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. Howard Brown is the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest, providing primary and specialty healthcare, social services, and infectious disease screenings to more than 35,000 people each year. Learn more at


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