Howard Brown Health Establishes Fellowship Program for Future Public Health Leaders

The Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship Endowment Fund will support LGBTQ undergraduates with professional development in community health

(Chicago, IL, June 23, 2020) – Howard Brown Health is honored to announce a $1 million gift from George and Juanita Shapen to establish the Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship Endowment Fund.  The largest private gift received by Howard Brown in its 46-year history, the endowment fund will support the Gregory Shapen Public Health Fellowship within Howard Brown’s Center for Education, Research and Advocacy.  

By supporting paid internship opportunities for under-represented LGBTQ undergraduates, the Shapen Fellowship will encourage the professional development of future leaders with interests in LGBTQ health.

Greg Shapen was a Howard Brown employee who died of AIDS-related complications 30 years ago today.  His parents, George and Juanita, wanted to ensure that Greg’s contributions were remembered, and so established the endowment and fellowship to keep the memory of their son alive in perpetuity.

Greg worked as a walk-in clinic manager at Howard Brown, where he met his partner, John Weldt.  When Greg was diagnosed with AIDS, he told John “I want a house and a dog before I die.”  They bought a three-flat in Andersonville and Greg adopted a Dalmatian that he named Daisy.  “Howard Brown was the center of our lives,” John said, remembering that the staff threw them a dog shower.

Greg will be remembered for his thoughtfulness and generosity.  As the end of his life neared, Greg gave those he loved keepsakes by which to remember him.  Greg gave his father a beloved tie that he still wears once a year. 

The Shapen Fellows program will start in the summer of 2021 and will support six fellows from underrepresented populations, with a focus on LGBTQ students of color, providing summer employment and learning in order to encourage students to pursue careers in public health or community medicine.  Fellows can be assigned to any department or team within Howard Brown to manage projects.  The cohort will also be provided with opportunities to learn about community health centers and about how Howard Brown approaches its mission of eliminating the disparities in healthcare experienced by LGBTQ people.

Application information for the inaugural 2021 fellowship program will be released this Fall at with contact and program information.

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. In response to the pandemic, Howard Brown has limited services to 8 of its 11 clinic locations and launched telephone and video options for patients to access care via telehealth.  Learn more at


Media Inquiries:
Erik Roldan, Director of Communications and Marketing


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