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First LGBT group joins American Medical Association's House of Delegates

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association (AMA) today voted GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality into its House of Delegates, the AMA’s principal policy-making body.

GLMA is the first and only LGBT organization in the House of Delegates, signaling a major shift to advance understanding of LGBT healthcare needs and promote equality.

“With this historic vote, GLMA has a significant opportunity to increase our efforts to improve the health and well-being of LGBT individuals,” GLMA executive director Hector Vargas said.

“By joining the AMA House of Delegates and having a voice in the largest physician group in America, GLMA will be able to leverage the strength of the AMA’s support and influence to build greater understanding within the mainstream medical community about the unique health issues faced by the LGBT community.”

GLMA joining the House of Delegates is the latest in a series of progressive steps by the AMA towards LGBT inclusion and equality. The AMA’s GLBT Advisory Committee — which has included members of GLMA’s leadership since its inception in 2005 — influenced several key AMA policies supporting a broad range of LGBT issues, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the adoption of children by same-sex partners.

The AMA and GLMA have worked closely in the past few years, including on a recent survey examining physicians’ attitudes towards LGBT patients and colleagues and their experience receiving education and training on LGBT health issues.

“There is still significant room for improvement in the health professions when it comes to providing care to the LGBT community in a culturally competent way,” said GLMA president Desi Bailey, MD. “We look forward to continuing to work with the AMA to address critical LGBT health issues and contribute to the development of AMA’s policy statements, which impact healthcare across the country.”

“The AMA Board of Trustees recommended the approval of GLMA’s application to join the 187 medical societies with representatives in the House of Delegates,” said incoming AMA president Ardis Dee Hoven, MD. “Approval of the AMA Board’s recommendation gives GLBT physicians and medical students an important voice within the house of medicine that will enhance AMA policy and programs that affect GLBT physicians, students and patients.”