Brian Bickford: 2023 Philip W. Brickner National Leadership Award

Philip W. Brickner, MD (1928-2014), established Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) as a national model of care for severely disadvantaged persons. In 1983, Dr. Brickner was chosen to direct the HCH Demonstration Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Pew Charitable Trust, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. With his team from St. Vincent’s Hospital, he selected projects in 19 cities and oversaw their implementation of multidisciplinary primary care efforts that were based upon his own work in New York City. The program was replicated by the 1987 Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act and now includes approximately 300 federally-funded HCH programs nationally. In 2015, the Council’s Board of Directors established the Brickner Award to honor annually an individual from our field who exemplifies Dr. Brickner’s commitment to social justice, compassion, humility, inclusiveness, innovation, intellect, and persistence.

Brian Bickford is a licensed mental health counselor in Worcester, Mass. He began his career working with children in residential treatment facilities. He worked in various roles that led to the discovery of different engagement and clinical styles. His work with children taught him about himself personally and professionally. Later, Brian found himself aiding different populations in different organizational roles (i.e. clinician, manager, director, etc.). It became Brian’s passion to assist and serve people experiencing homelessness in his community in Worcester. The Worcester Healthcare for the Homeless program led Brian to adopt an integrated team model for caring for people experiencing homelessness. He has a great appreciation for those we all serve. His sense of belonging and commitment to community change inspires the work he does today.

Currently, Brian is the Regional Manager for Eliot Community Human Services PATH team. He has found the perfect mixture of engaging with community members, providing direct care, supporting team members, and advocating at state and national levels for human rights.

Brian is completing his sixth year on the National HCH Council Clinicians’ Network Steering Committee and is the immediate past Chair. He has served on NHCHC’s Board of Directors and Administrators Committee, has been involved in many local and national task forces, committees, and has lectured and provided training focused on Harm Reduction, Outreach Practices, and Housing and Homelessness. Brian advocates for community members who have been silenced, abused, and neglected by families, communities, organizations, institutions, and policy makers. He carries the voice of those he serves and aspires to support, nourish, and call for human rights, dignity, respect and community connections.

Watch the 2023 Awards Ceremony

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