Desiray C. Bailey, MD: Advocating for the LGBTQ community

Desiray C. Bailey, MD

The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.

On the move with: Desiray C. Bailey, MD, a retired anesthesiologist in Seattle, Washington, who is also an Alternate Delegate for GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality and a GLMA representative to the LGBTQ Advisory Committee at the AMA.

AMA member since: 2012.

What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: I didn’t have any role models for a career in science in the early 70’s, but as I did my clinical training for medical technology as a senior in college, I discovered that I really liked working with patients in a hospital setting. And so, I decided to become a physician.

How I move medicine: My passion is advocacy for underserved populations, especially the LGBTQ communities. I represent GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality at the AMA to help shape policy and education, and improve access to competent health care. I also try to inspire other physicians to get involved in the work.

Career highlights: I was a clinical anesthesiologist for almost 40 years, and a hospital chief of staff for 18 years. I advocated for competent and equitable care for LGBTQ patients in my workplace and for a safe environment for LGBTQ physicians, other staff, and employees. I received the Group Health Physicians Corporate Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2013. I am on the GLMA Board and was previously the President for two years. I was GLMA’s first delegate to the AMA House of Delegates in 2013 and am currently GLMA’s representative to the LGBTQ Advisory Committee and GLMA’s Alternate Delegate to the HOD.

Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Never underestimate yourself!

How I give back to the community: I give back to the community by my extensive volunteer work with organizations whose missions I embrace—advocating for competent and equitable care for LGBTQ communities.

Aspect of my work that means the most: When I practiced as an anesthesiologist, it meant a lot to me to be able to reassure patients with calm, competent, and compassionate care in and out of the operating room. Since retirement, I have been gratified by the ability to advocate for patients in impactful ways.

My hope for the future of medicine: I hope for a future where discrimination and prejudice no longer hinder the ability of all people to get safe, competent, and accessible health care.

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