LGBT advocate and doctor on a mission for LGBT advocacy in health care

From the Daily Pennsylvanian

Baligh Yehia  at the White House LGBT Enrollment Summit.

Baligh Yehia
at the White House LGBT Enrollment Summit.

Baligh Yehia, a self-described LGBT advocate and a doctor who treats HIV, is on a mission for LGBT advocacy in health care. An instructor of medicine and attending physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center and the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Yehia was recently invited to the White House Briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT Community conference.

The conference focused on how to provide the nation’s LGBT community with access to the newest addition to Obamacare — a system called the “Health Insurance Marketplace” that will allow individuals to shop around for a private health care insurance plan that best meets their needs. However, Yehia has been working to improve LGBT rights on campus and in the national sphere long before this event — as a self-identified gay male, Yehia “wanted to advocate for the community that [he] was a part of.”

When Yehia first came to Penn in 2009 as a part of the department of infectious diseases, he immediately started looking for ways to work for LGBT rights on a national scale. He began by serving on the LGBT advisory committee for the American Medical Association, offering advice to board members on various issues related to LGBT affairs in the sphere of public health. This past June, he was elected chair of this committee.

Soon after serving time with the AMA, Yehia decided to bring his advocacy work to the surrounding community. This year, with the help of the Provost’s Excellence Through Diversity Fund, he created the Penn Medicine Program for LGBT Health, which works to bring leaders in the local LGBT community together to generate a discussion about prominent health issues and ways in which they can be solved. “I realized that there was a need locally and that Penn could be a big part of championing these issues,” Yehia said. “This is a group that has not had much representation for a long time.”

Now, after returning from the White House conference on LGBT health, Yehia is focused on getting the word out to the LGBT community at Penn about how the new health care system could affect individuals’ coverage.

Read the full article on The Daily Pennsylvanian online.

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