Inside Health Care #79: Dr. Kellan Baker & Health Equity for the LGBTQ+ Community

May 11, 2022 · David J. Smolar

On this show, we often discuss health disparities, but they’re usually focused on populations identified by either race or ethnicity. This episode focuses on strides being made towards policyand measurement that would better address health equity gaps in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community.

Dr. Kellan Baker

Dr. Kellan Baker is a health services researcher with a PhD in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Baker is currently Executive Director of the Whitman-Walker Institute. The Institute’s parent organization, Whitman-Walker Health, began as a Washington, DC, clinic that was especially known for its care for those infected with HIV/AIDS throughout the 1980s. And Whitman-Walker remains stalwart in providing both treatment for and support of LGBTQ communities throughout the country.

Dr. Baker is also a committee member of a U.S. Health & Human Services-supported study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, titled “Measuring Sex, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation for the National Institutes of Health.” This groundbreaking study helps establish a baseline for understanding the most fundamental hurdles facing LGBT patients, from defining distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity to concretizing the need for better data collection to advance LGBT health equity and serve LGBT patients.

For a copy of the study, click here:

Dr. Baker was previously a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, where he focused on regulatory policy across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including nondiscrimination laws and ensuring that the benefits of the Affordable Care Act reach LGBTQ communities. He is particularly passionate about enhancing data collection and measurement in order to enhance health equity.

Our guest’s journey to health care – and to Whitman-Walker – is very unique and very personal. Dr. Baker is both a professional and personal expert in the needs of transgender people…and knows the need for active allyship and support throughout the healthcare system for those going through gender transition.

In our “Matt’s Facts” segment, we offer self-care tips as part of Mental Health Awareness Month in May. For more information on maintaining good mental health [especially through the pandemic], click here for the National Institutes of Mental Health’s recommendations. And click this link for information on NCQA’s Distinction in Behavioral Health recognition program.

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