Fenway Health CEO Resigns Amid Harassment Controversy

The resignation came after a weekend of controversy for the organization

The Fenway Health Board of Directors announced Sunday that their CEO would no longer be employed by the organization, following a weekend of controversy surrounding the institution's reported handling of harassment complaints.

Dr. Stephen Boswell's resignation was made effective immediately upon the release of a statement by the Board of Directors on Sunday.

Boswell's resignation comes at the heels of reporting by the Boston Globe, published online Friday, detailing allegations of harassment and bullying against Dr. Harvey Makadon.

Makadon allegedly sexually harassed at least three male employees and bullied co-workers, reported The Globe.

The first serious complaint against Makadon was filed in 2013. The Globe reported that Boswell allegedly ignored an outside law firm's explicit recommendation to fire Makadon in 2015. Boswell neglected to tell the board about allegations against Makadon, or of a $75,000 settlement with a former employee. Makadon was eventually forced to resign in April of 2017.

"It is important to make clear that Dr. Makadon’s responsibilities at Fenway Health involved solely research and never included physician-patient relationships," wrote the organization in a statement.

On Sunday, Boston-based LGBT publication Bay Windows demanded Boswell's resignation, saying he "recklessly put Fenway Health's reputation at risk," by protecting Makadon, reported The Globe.

Sue O'Connell, host of necn's The Take, is a co-publisher of Bay Windows.

Robert Hale, the board's chair, defended the organization's handling of Makadon and Boswell in a late-night statement to the press on Sunday.

According to Hale, when the board first learned of allegations against Makadon in early 2017, they took "prompt" and "appropriate" action to address the matter. "We believe our actions with respect to this matter have stayed true to our values," wrote Hale.

Hale writes that the board created a comprehensive update to policies on discrimination, harassment and workplace bullying, which took effect in October.

Hale also said that while continuing support for Boswell's leadership at Fenway Health, the board "advised Dr. Boswell of our considered concerns" regarding how Makadon had been handled by upper management -- specifically with management's failure to promptly bring reports of abuse to boardmembers.

"Fenway exists to enhance the well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities," wrote the organization in a statement, "Fenway Health is bigger than any single person."

The board has implemented a review of Fenway's management structure, focusing on human recources and reporting procedures, which is due in January.

"The staff of Fenway Health deserves a workplace that is based on respectful and fair behavior toward all," wrote Hale.

Boswell said in a statement that his actions should not reflect the values of Fenway Health. "With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear to me that more timely and direct action on this situation was warranted," wrote Boswell. "If my actions in this matter sent an inadvertent message to the Fenway Health community that this behavior will be tolerated, I am sorry."

Contact Us