Action Wellness set to change leadership
Longtime Executive Director Kevin Burns will retire at the end of the month and be succeeded by Evelyn Torres.
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On June 30, 2023, Evelyn Torres, Advisor to the Director of the Division of HIV Health (DHH) at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, will become the new Executive Director of Action Wellness.
It was announced at the end of March that the current Executive Director, Kevin Burns would be retiring after 34 years with the organization. He has worked at Action Wellness since 1986 when it was still called ActionAIDS. Burns worked his way up from Volunteer Buddy to Executive Director, a position he’s held since 2005.
“It has been a privilege working with a team that is so dedicated to serving Greater Philadelphia,” he said.
Burns continued, “Together, we created an organization that offers lifesaving and life-changing services to people wrestling with chronic illness, substance use disorder, housing insecurity and other challenges. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this important work.”
Whitney Strickland, Action Wellness Board President, commented on Burn’s upcoming retirement by saying, “Throughout his years of dedicated service, Kevin has been a beacon of hope for the community. We are forever indebted to his passion and leadership. ‘Thank you’ will never sufficiently express our gratitude. We wish Kevin an abundance of happiness in his next chapter.”
His successor, Torres, comes back to Action Wellness with over 20 years of experience in the HIV field from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In her most recent role as Advisor to the Director at DHH, Torres addressed the division’s planning needs in regards to the maintenance and implementation of combined HIV prevention and care sources. The goal of these programs is to end the HIV epidemic.
Before serving as Advisor to the Director, Torres was DHH’s Program Implementation Administrator.
Torres actually began her career at Action Wellness as a social work intern, before being hired as a case manager. She also worked there as a trainer for the Case Management Coordination Project.
“Action Wellness is a premier organization that plays a vital role in sustaining the health and well-being of persons with HIV and other chronic conditions, especially those in marginalized communities. I credit working at Action Wellness for inspiring me to dedicate my life to this important work. It’s gratifying to return to this incredible organization to help lead this exciting, new chapter,” said Torres.
Torres holds a BA in Social Work from Rutgers University and a MBA with a concentration in Health Administration in Eastern University.
“Ms. Torres embodies the past, present and future of Action Wellness. As a former employee, she understands who we are, what we have done, and why we do it. As she built her career and worked in roles of increasing responsibility at other organizations, she remained deeply committed to her roots at Action Wellness,” said Jeffrey Alexander, an Action Wellness board member who was part of the search committee.
“She understands how our mission, vision and values have evolved and she is making it her goal to bring them to life as we step into a new era,” he continued.