Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist, a Navy Combat Veteran, and a father of two has become the first openly gay person to lead the American Medical Association amidst the fractious time for U.S. health care.

Transgender patients and those seeking abortion care face restrictions in many places. The medical judgment of physicians is being overridden by state laws. Disinformation is rampant. And the nation isn’t finished with Covid-19.

At 44, Ehrenfeld will be among the AMA’s youngest presidents when he begins his one-year term on June 13. He spoke recently to The Associated Press about his background and a new job. While discussing how being part of the LGBTQ+ community informs and influences his job, he said that he has experienced the health care system as a gay person, as a gay parent, as in many ways wonderful positive experiences and other ways, some deeply harmful experiences. He thinks, as a nation, the country can do better by lifting up health.

Expressing his thoughts on political interference in medicine he said, “I’m deeply concerned about government intrusion into decision-making for patients. The Supreme Court ruling around abortion has had profound implications for reproductive rights.’

He believes patients have a right to access evidence-based healthcare services, including care for transgender people.