Hector L. Vargas, Jr., who on June 2nd took the helm of the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The news of Vargas' appointment was made in a statement released by The White House on Thursday, September 16th.
Acknowledging the many contributions made by the more than 16 million Asian and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the country, and in recognition of the challenges they still face, President Obama restored the Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through an executive order signed on October 14, 2009. The purpose of the commission is to improve the quality of life and opportunities for the AAPI community through increased access to, and participation in, Federal programs in which they may be underserved. The commission also works to advance relevant evidence-based research, data collection, and analysis for the AAPI community.
As the executive director of GLMA, Vargas oversees the world's largest and oldest association of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) health care professionals. Founded in 1981 as the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights, the non-profit association's mission is to ensure equality in health care for LGBT people and health care professionals.
From 2001 until beginning at GLMA , Vargas worked at Lambda Legal, the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and people living with HIV/AIDS. He worked there first as the Southern Regional Director and later as the Deputy Director of the Education and Public Affairs Department, where he helped to lead the organization's education and communication strategies. Prior to joining Lambda Legal, Vargas also worked at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Bar Association's Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Ethics Division and Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law). Mr. Vargas holds a J.D. and B.A. from the University of Georgia.
Vargas will be sworn in during a ceremony on Tuesday, September 21st at the Congressional Auditorium and U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
A remarkable leader in the LGBT civil rights movement, GLAAD congratulates Mr. Vargas on his presidential appointment.