Fenway Health CEO departs amid fallout of his management of harassment allegations against physician

Boston-based Fenway Health CEO Stephen L. Boswell, MD, is no longer employed by the organization. The sudden departure comes days after a Dec. 8 report by The Boston Globe that alleges the federally qualified community health center knowingly allowed a physician accused of sexual harassment and employee bullying to remain on staff for years.

The Globe found that Harvey J. Makadon, MD, "allegedly sexually harassed at least three male employees at Fenway Health and bullied both male and female co-workers." The first complaint against Dr. Makadon was filed in 2013, but the physician left Fenway Health only in April 2017.

The article, which is based on documents reviewed by Globe reporters and interviews with current and former employees, notes that Dr. Boswell did not take appropriate action against Dr. Makadon. He allegedly ignored a recommendation from a third-party law firm, which was investigating the allegations, that Dr. Makadon be fired. Additionally, he did not inform the health center's board about the complaints against Dr. Makadon. The board found out about the allegations earlier this year.

Dr. Boswell, who had served at the helm of the health center for the last 20 years, and the Fenway Health Board of Directors Chair Robert H. Hale released a joint statement on the same day the Globe article was published. The statement notes that "when the Board of Directors first learned about the concerns regarding Dr. Makadon in early 2017, it took prompt and appropriate action to address the matter."

Dr. Boswell said in the statement, "With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear to me that more timely and direct action on this situation was warranted. If my actions in this matter sent an inadvertent message to the Fenway Health community that this behavior will be tolerated, I am sorry. I am confident that, working closely with the Board of Directors, we have taken the steps necessary to assure that this situation will not repeat itself."

On Dec. 10, however, the board and Dr. Boswell agreed to end his employment with the organization, whose mission includes enhancing the wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Fenway Health named M. Jane Powers interim CEO. Ms. Powers is the organization's director of behavioral health.

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