Community Health Leader in Multnomah County Steps Down in Less Than a Year
Health

Black Leader at Oregon’s Multnomah County Community Health Center Resigns Amid Discrimination Allegations; Others Also Step Down

Multnomah County’s community health center has recently seen several key resignations, including that of its executive director, Darnell “DJ” Rhodes. Rhodes resigned from his position after less than a year on the job, citing discrimination as a Black leader within the organization. When he was hired in April 2023, county officials praised him as a proven leader and strategic thinker.

In his role, Rhodes oversaw eight primary care health centers, seven dental clinics, seven pharmacies, and nine student health centers within the county. However, challenges soon arose for Rhodes shortly after he began working at the health center. In October 2023, he was placed on paid administrative leave and later revealed to Willamette Week that he had experienced discrimination as a Black leader within the organization. Despite returning from leave in January 2024, Rhodes ultimately chose to resign from his position.

Rhodes’ departure was one of three recent resignations within the health center system. Jeff Perry, the chief financial officer, and Bernadette Thomas, the medical director, also stepped down. According to Serena Cruz, the county’s chief operating officer, these departures were unrelated to Rhodes’ resignation. However, it is not yet clear what impact these recent resignations will have on the health center and its operations.

Neither Rhodes nor county officials have provided any further comments on the matter at this time. The Oregonian/OregonLive reached out to both parties for additional information but did not receive a response. It remains to be seen how these recent resignations will affect Multnomah County’s community health center in the coming months and years ahead.

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