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Georgia's public health department withdraws job offer to Dr. Eric Walsh

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Dr. Eric Walsh no longer has a job offer in Georgia. The state's department of public health withdrew an offer after stating he would start on June 16 and head up a six-county health coalition.

An article in the Pasadena Star News reported that the offer was rescinded after officials conducted a background check that included news coverage of Dr. Walsh's sermons. Activist groups spoke out against the hire including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and The Health Initiative, an LGBT organization in Georgia.

Letters were sent to Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald asking her not to hire Dr. Walsh.

The AFH is a $300-million dollar organization as stated on its website and describes its mission as providing "cutting-edge medicine and advocacy regardless of one's ability to pay." AHF president Michael Weinstein, a former businessman and graphic designer, was quoted in the Star News article saying, "We feel as responsible for the people of Georgia as we do in Pasadena."

About 25 AHF activists wearing red shirts spoke out against Dr. Walsh during a Pasadena City Council hearing on May 8 as noted in this article on the AHF web site.

The Health Initiative decried Dr. Walsh's public displays of "anti-gay propaganda and religious rhetoric." The group referred in this article to the federal Healthy People 2020 report and the Institute of Medicine’s 2011 findings, that LGBT individuals are more likely to avoid accessing preventative health screenings due to a lack of culturally competent providers and an overall fear of discrimination.

Neither organization cited any complaints aimed at Dr. Walsh's work while he was the director of Pasadena's public health department.

The Star News also reported that Dr. Walsh issued a statement on Wednesday apologizing to city coworkers and called his years in Pasadena "the highlight" of his career.

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