Combined Health's staff to run agency in interim Finding a replacement for director killed in crash may take months

November 29, 1996|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

The staff of Combined Health Agencies of Maryland will run the agency for several months while a committee conducts a nationwide search for a successor to its president, who died Nov. 12 in a car accident.

The trio of Amy Helfrich, director of operations; Stephanie Weingrad, director of development; and Janis Fink, director of marketing and communications, will direct the agency without an interim head, Fink said. Three other staff members will assist them.

Joseph M. Forni, 42, who had headed the agency since 1993, was killed in a two-car crash in Oella in Baltimore County. He was described by officials of United Way and other groups as a tireless worker who efficiently reorganized the marketing and fund-raising federation of 24 health agencies.

Agency members include Maryland chapters of such diverse national groups as the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association and the Arthritis Foundation.

In one of the last decisions under Forni, the agency added the Health Education Resource Organization (HERO) last month to its membership.

This will allow more people among the 25,000 with the human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome to receive comprehensive case management, counseling, advocacy and legal services, buddy programs and a drop-in center.

CHA also unveiled its World Wide Web home page last month, which features access to wellness programs and data about member agencies. The site can be reached at http: //

When necessary, the CHA staff will consult the volunteer board of 25 directors headed by David S. Sachs, executive vice president of Baltimore Life Insurance Co.

Board member Andrew Goresh, who is vice president of human resources and administrative services for T. Rowe Price, will lead an eight-member committee searching for a successor to Forni.

"They will take months rather than weeks because the board considers this an important position and wants to do it right," said Fink.

CHA was founded in 1959 as the Commerce and Industry United Health Appeal (CICHA) with nine members. Its name was changed in the mid-1980s to CHA, a switch that reflected the trend from business to a more service-oriented Maryland economy. The agency was third in funds received among 69 United Way of Central Maryland affiliates this year, accepting $1.79 million. (The American Red Cross and Associated Catholic Charities were first and second).

The federation raises money primarily through donors' payroll deductions in the workplace. It conducts public awareness programs and develops volunteer leaders to improve the health of Marylanders. CHA is located at 3700 Koppers St., Suite 202, Baltimore 21227-1022.

Pub Date: 11/29/96

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