The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) recently announced Hector Vargas, JD, has been named executive director of the organization, the world’s largest and oldest association of LGBT healthcare professionals, effective June 2, 2010.
Vargas is currently the Deputy Director of the Education and Public Affairs Department for Lambda Legal. Lambda is the largest national legal organization committed to achieving full recognition of LGBT civil rights.
Rebecca Allison, MD, President of GLMA, said that, “Hector Vargas is a remarkable leader in the LGBT civil rights movement. He is passionate about the need for equality in healthcare for LGBT individuals, and we feel extremely fortunate that he will lead our efforts going forward.”
Vargas joins GLMA at a critical juncture in LGBT health. This year the Institute of Medicine (IOM) launched a historic effort to assess the health of LGBT populations. Additionally, a number of other efforts are underway within our nation’s healthcare system to better address and understand the needs of LGBT patients and healthcare consumers. Mainstream health organizations, hospitals, healthcare systems, health plans, and accrediting bodies are increasingly recognizing the need to address healthcare disparities affecting LGBT populations.
“I’m both honored and excited to join GLMA’s dedicated team of board and staff members who are making a real difference in the lives of LGBT people,” said Vargas. “Health disparities affecting gay and transgender people are significant and well-documented, discrimination and stigma directed against the LGBT community is the principal source of those health disparities.”
Vargas has plans to expand the visibility of the organization, as well as to expand the organization’s programming in areas of education and advocacy. Additionally, Vargas will work to strengthen and expand the membership of the organization. “It is important for GLMA to expand our efforts to get LGBT health professionals of all disciplines involved in our efforts. Even though great progress has been made over past decades, discrimination in healthcare settings still remains all too common.”