June 27, 2023
ACHP is proud to recognize and celebrate the efforts and achievements made by members of the LGBTQ+ community during Pride Month. June provides us all a time to reflect on the unique needs and lived experiences of members of this community and the work that has been done to secure and protect individual freedoms. Improving health equity is at the core of ACHP’s mission – ACHP member companies are deeply ingrained in their communities and are working each day to close gaps in care among their communities. We are proud to champion equality and LGBTQ+ rights by sharing thoughts from people such as ACHP’s Maria Velasco on the importance of promoting a culture of diversity and inclusivity.
Tell us about yourself and your role in your organization.
Hola! I am Maria Velasco and I am the Senior Manager of Events and Business Development here at ACHP. I manage the association’s events and I am the main point of contact for all our sponsors and partners. I am originally from Spain and I’ve been living in the U.S. for more than 15 years (time flies when you are having fun).
What does “living authentically” mean to you?
It means to always be true to yourself and not take people’s opinions too seriously.
From an equity perspective, what do you think our health care system can do to reach – and care for – members of the LGBTQI+ community?
There is endless amount of research that shows that LGBTQI+ individuals can struggle to find services such as HIV prevention and treatment, hormone replacement therapy and even basic primary care where they live. Perhaps a good start might be providing those basic needs and supporting members of the LGBTQI+ community. In addition, the health care system could ensure that there are clinics or community centers that only cater to the LGBTQI+ community in all 50 states to ensure that there is a safe haven for those who need it.
Which members of the LGBTQI+ community, living or deceased, would you most like to sit down with and share a meal?
Freddie Mercury, hands down (#QueensForever).
What advice would you give your younger self?
To keep dreaming big, no matter how senseless those dreams might be; and work hard to achieve them. You never know where life might take you (you could even end up across the globe).