Lazara Gonzalez worked at HMI from 2014 – 2017. She joined the HMI family as the Assistant Director of Health & Wellness collaboratively overseeing Kiki Lounge, HIV & STI prevention services, CAP programming, Saturday Night Lights, and other youth-affirming wellness services that respect the rights and choices of all HMI members to receive services with dignity. She transitioned to the Director of Youth Engagement with the vision of broadening how youth received comprehensive wellness services in a way that was responsive to their needs immediately upon entering our doors, making their health a priority.   

A fierce queer, Latinx human, lover, and mother, Lazara was born and raised in northern New Jersey and is passionate about working on social and community justice issues that impact marginalized communities—acknowledging health as a right. Lazara has over 20 years of professional experience in public health program development and implementation with a focus on advocacy, community mobilization, creating sustainable partnerships, and seeing organizations grow predominantly among communities of color, LGBTQIA+ identified communities, and youth throughout the nation.

She currently works with a public health firm based out of California where she is leading the implementation of multiple dynamic and diverse projects, including CA Office of AIDS and STD Control Branch strategic plan for the next five years supporting a shift towards a more people-centered approach to services. Similarly, she is working on the development of a more equitable, comprehensive workforce development initiative in San Francisco that builds a highly skilled cross-trained workforce that reflects the populations served, has low turnover rates, and is valued and supported. 

Lazara is proud of the work that she does and the impact it has had and will continue to make on the communities she has the privilege to work with. She has been highlighted in various publications and has received recognition for her work and commitment to the community, including being selected as a LGBTQ Scholar of Color and a Minority of Color Leadership fellow as notated below. Lazara received an M.P.H. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a B.S. of William Paterson University of New Jersey.

Academic Achievements

LGBTQ Scholar of Color Fellow, selected by The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies @ the City University of New York (2015)

Lead The Way Fellow (selected), Center For Research And Policy In The Public Interest at the New York Women’s Foundation, NYC (August 2015)

UCLA Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research (MTPCCR), Graduate, Los Angeles, CA (May 2010)