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Biden Names Adrian Shanker as Senior Adviser on LGBTQI+ Health Equity

Adrian Shanker
Photo by Libby Reyff

Shanker, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ+ and HIV-positive Americans, will work in the office of the assistant secretary for health at the  Department of Health and Human Services.

Adrian Shanker, executive director of the Spahr Center in California, has been appointed senior adviser on LGBTQI+ health equity in the office of the assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shanker has been serving in a voluntary capacity in the Biden-Harris administration as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS since 2021. He joined the Spahr Center, which provides health care and other services to LGBTQ+ residents and people living with HIV in Marin County, in April. He previously had founded the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, Pa., and led it for more than seven years.

During his time at the Spahr Center, Shanker led an organizational rebranding with a new logo and website, an expansion of programs for LGBTQ+ families, and the launch of the organization's Training Institute. He has been a critical advocate for MPX vaccine access in Marin County, and he is editor of the 2020 anthology Bodies and Barriers: Queer Activists on Health and the new anthology Crisis and Care: Queer Activist Responses to a Global Pandemic.

"It has been a tremendous joy to work with the team at the Spahr Center to enhance and expand programs and services for LGBTQI+ and HIV+ community members in Marin," Shanker said in a press release from the center. "When I started at the Spahr Center, I did not anticipate a short tenure; however, I am confident that the organization is in a strong position to continue its positive momentum in service to Marin's LGBTQI+ and HIV+ communities. I am deeply humbled by the invitation to join the Biden-Harris administration in this role and I look forward to supporting the administration's efforts to advance health equity for the LGBTQI+ community."

"When we hired Adrian, we knew we were bringing someone in with tremendous expertise in LGBTQI+ health," Denny David, chair of the Spahr Center's board of directors, said in the release. "It turns out that the Biden administration agrees. For decades, the LGBTQI+ community has fought for a seat at the table, and we have seen the devastating consequences of being ignored. While we are sad to lose Adrian, that sadness is tempered by a tremendous amount of community pride. We are glad to have a champion for the health of our community heading to Washington to advise the administration, and at the Spahr Center, we will continue to seamlessly offer the services and programs our community needs."

Cindy L. Myers has been named interim executive director at the Spahr Center. The organization will do a national search for a new executive director, led by Kevin Chase Executive Search.

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