Evan Thornburg ’09
“I currently serve as the health equity special advisor for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in the AIDS activities coordinating office (AACO). I develop and embed health equity-based practices and designs into initiatives at AACO aimed at ending the HIV epidemic. I collaborate with other divisions such as the COVID containment team. I also am the co-lead of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s health equity core team. I lead an internal group of public health colleagues on advising the acting health commissioner and health department divisions on action steps and deliverables to change health disparities, specifically for marginalized communities in Philadelphia.
I previously served the city and residents of Philadelphia as the deputy director of the mayor’s office of LGBT affairs and the director of training and program development of the mayor’s office of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I have become a seasoned expert in intersectionality, specializing in policy and legislation drafting and design, equity-based program development, and comprehensive training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. I grew up between Philadelphia and Houston. I received my bachelor of arts in American studies/civilizations from Ursinus College. A team of fellow students and I executed the first diversity week and served as the president of Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at Ursinus.
I have trained thousands of individuals and collaborated with hundreds of organizations and institutions over the last 14 years on inclusion, competency, advocacy, and proactive intentional inclusion of marginalized/vulnerable communities, specifically LGBTQ folx, people of color, elders, and youth.
Currently, my profound and exciting work includes the following: drafting and implementing AACO’s first health equity policy as a central component of ending the HIV epidemic in Philadelphia, designing and executing a health equity assessment and benchmark requirements for AACO’s grantee organizations, and redesigning the request for proposal process in several health department divisions by applying measurable equity requirements and deliverables.
My past accomplishments have been, co-creating an expansive prevention-based healthcare initiative for LGBTQ+ elders, executing the LGBTQ Leadership Pipeline Program and the LGBTQ State of the Union annual event at the Kimmel Center, and providing diversity and LGBTQ+ competency trainings for Philadelphia city departments for over 27,000 city workers and, ultimately, the 1.6 million city residents those employees serve to become more inclusive and equitable.
During my tenure at Ursinus, I was a rabble rouser, fire starter, and probably the bane of most of my professors’ lives. I constantly questioned leadership, argued with oppression supporting and privileged students in class. I was profoundly changed by the immersive civil rights trip I went on with Reverend Rice’s class where I was blessed to meet Medgar Evers’ brother, Hollis Watkins, and James Meredith. I want anyone reading this to know that those who fight with you today will celebrate you as a hero tomorrow—remember both days forever.” - Evan Thornburg ’09.