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

Byeditor

Mar 25, 2024

Darnell “DJ” Rhodes, who was hired as the executive director of Multnomah County’s community health center in April, has resigned from his position after less than a year. Rhodes, who was earning $273,000 annually, stepped down on Friday. When he was hired in 2023, county officials praised him as “a proven leader and strategic thinker” after a national recruitment process.

In his role, Rhodes was responsible for overseeing eight primary care health centers, seven dental clinics, seven pharmacies, and nine student health centers within the county. However, Rhodes faced challenges shortly after starting in his position, leading to him being placed on paid administrative leave in October. He later revealed to Willamette Week that he had experienced discrimination as a Black leader within the organization. Rhodes returned from leave in January but 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.

Neither Rhodes nor county officials have provided further comments on the matter. The Oregonian/OregonLive reached out to both parties for additional information but did not receive a response. The impact of these recent resignations on the health center and its operations remains to be seen. For more news and updates, continue to support OregonLive by subscribing to stay informed.

By editor

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