Multnomah County Health Center has lost another key leader as CEO Darnell “DJ” Rhodes resigned from his position after less than a year on the job. Rhodes, who was hired in April 2023, earned $273,000 per year and was expected to lead the health center’s eight primary care health centers, seven dental clinics, seven pharmacies and nine student health centers. However, he quickly faced challenges and was placed on paid administrative leave in October.

Rhodes told Willamette Week that he faced discrimination as a black leader. He returned from leave in January but resigned in February. Despite his departure, district officials are committed to providing quality health care services to the community and continue to seek qualified individuals to fill the vacancies left by him along with chief financial officer Jeff Perry and medical director Bernadette Thomas. Serena Cruz, the district’s chief operating officer, stated that the decisions by Perry and Thomas were unrelated to Rhodes’ resignation.

The recent turmoil in the health center system has raised concerns about its ability to provide affordable and fair healthcare services to all residents of Multnomah County. However, district officials remain optimistic about moving forward and providing quality care services to the community. They have not yet announced any replacement for Rhodes but are actively seeking qualified candidates for the position.

By Samantha Johnson

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