Equitas Health names interim CEO after former leader steps down

Robert S. Copeland was appointment to the role of Interim CEO of Equitas Health. CONTRIBUTED

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Robert S. Copeland was appointment to the role of Interim CEO of Equitas Health. CONTRIBUTED

Equitas Health has named an interim CEO, after its longtime leader resigned after employees claimed the organization had a culture of racial discrimination.

The nonprofit network of LGBTQ+ focused health centers serves residents in Dayton, Columbus and other cities.

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Robert Copeland was named interim CEO of Equitas Health, after joining the staff four years ago as chief development officer, according to an announcement by Equitas Board Chair Sam Rinehart.

Equitas said Copeland initially was a member of the board of trustees and that he has more than 30 years of experience in healthcare and nonprofit fundraising.

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“The Board is confident Robert’s unique perspectives and trusted relationships will help Equitas Health navigate the current challenges. His passion is inspiring, and he is unwavering in his commitment to the mission,” the announcement stated.

The allegations by employees of Equitas were first reported by the Columbus Dispatch earlier this month. Several current and former employees said the organization had a culture of discrimination against Black employees.

Equitas has administrative offices in Columbus and Dayton and services around the state, including in Dayton where it operates a specialty pharmacy and medical center.

Copeland said in a note to staff, also shared with media, that his main priority taking on this interim role is to rebuild the confidence and trust so many of them have lost.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Copeland wrote.

He said in this transition “we must all reflect on our roles and identify how we can be better. We will be intentional in our work to become an anti-racist organization while also creating areas for people to breathe, be heard, and be validated. It is a complex challenge, but I know we can rise to meet it.”

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He said he will immediately begin scheduling visits to all our locations across the organization, seeking open communication, gathering feedback, and discussing how they can move forward together.

Equitas will conduct a national search for a new CEO.

Copeland said he views his role as an opportunity “to lay the groundwork for a permanent CEO who will be positioned for success to evolve our organization.”

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