Justin Varney

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Justin Varney
Justin Varney speaking at CHE Conference, July 2013
Dr Justin Varney is a doctor and public health expert. He trained in general practice before specialising in public health medicine. His career has included significant work on LGBT issues, but his is also a recognised public health expert on a range of other issues including physical activity, health and work, domestic violence and has led work nationally on pharmacy, sexual and reproductive health and allied health professionals.

He is a former co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists (GLADD).[1] and a former trustee of the LGBT Consortium.[2]

He co-founded the National LGBT Health Summit [3] as well as being the primary organiser for the NHS presence at London Pride between 2005-2013.

Dr Varney was a founding member of the Department of Health Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Advisory Group (SOGIAG) [4] and chaired the Better Employment Work-stream between 2005 and 2009. The SOGIAG produced a series of key documents from the UK Department of Health and NHS on LGBT health issues, these included:

Reducing health inequalities for LGBT people [5]

Core training standards on sexual orientation [6]

A guide for young trans people [7]

From 2006 to 2013 he was consultant in public health medicine at NHS Barking and Dagenham. In April 2013 he joined the national Health and Wellbeing Directorate of Public Health England. At Public Health England he has led a series of programmes nationally primarily in Adults and Older People's Health, and has retained a leadership role on LGBT inclusion. As part of this role he has worked closely with the LGBT voluntary and community sector and the Government Equality Office.

In 2015/16 with the support of the MAC AIDS Foundation, he developed a multi-strand programme focused on addressing inequalities in health for black and minority men who have sex with men. [8] This project partnered with a wide range of LGBT community organisations and established learning sets of faith, BAME and LGBT leaders as well as developing the evidence base for interventions with BME MSM in a UK context.

While at PHE he has led work to improve their internal approach to LGBT staff inclusion, including writing their first trans inclusion policy, and his work led to the organisation seeing significant improvements in both score and ranking year on year. At PHE he instigated the first LGBT mentoring circle for LGBT staff in 2017/18, and developed the draft LGBT international travel policy.


Dr Varney has been co-author and primary author on a range of important LGBT documents, these include:

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Companion Document to the Public Health Outcomes Framework (2013) [9]

Promoting the health and wellbeing of gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (2016) [10]

Improving the health and wellbeing of lesbian and bisexual women and other women who have sex with women (2018) [11]

Preventing suicide among LGB & T young people (2015) [12]

Dr Varney has also co-authored a series of peer review publications on LGBT health issues, these include:

Rainbow medicine - supporting the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans patients.Clin Med (Lond). 2016 Oct;16(5):405-406.[13]

Sexual orientation and symptoms of common mental disorder or low wellbeing: combined meta-analysis of 12 UK population health surveys.BMC Psychiatry. 2016 Mar 24;16:67. doi: 10.1186/s12888-016-0767-z. [14]

Sexual orientation identity in relation to smoking history and alcohol use at age 18/19: cross-sectional associations from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England (LSYPE).[15]

In 2017 Dr Varney was awarded the David Harvey Lifetime Achievement Award by GLADD for his contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of LGBT Communities and he was also awarded 2nd place in the LGBT Civil Servant of Year in the UK Civil Service LGBT Impact Awards.

In 2018 Justin was shortlisted in the Civil Service Diversity awards[16] for his work on LGBT issues in the civil service.

Personal Life

Justin was born in Australia but left aged 2yrs to move with his family to Holland for a couple of years before finally returning to the UK which has been his main home. He is one of two children. His family has also lived in Sweden for a period when he was an adolescent. He attended Bryanston School and trained in Medicine at St.Bartholomews' and the Royal London Hospital Medical School. He currently lives in South East London with his husband.

This article is a stub. You can help the UK LGBT History Project by expanding it.


  1. http://web.archive.org/web/20120223010937/http://gladd.co.uk/page4.htm former GLADD website, as at February 2012, accessed via the Web Archive
  2. http://www.lgbtconsortium.org.uk/sites/default/files/Annual%20Report%202007.pdf
  3. http://www.lgbt-healthinequalities.scot.nhs.uk/documents/6%20Training_activities_resources/5%20LGBT_health_inequalities/Resources/LGBT_Health_Summit_Exec_Sum06.pdf
  4. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20071030000000/http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Policyandguidance/Equalityandhumanrights/Sexualorientationandgenderidentity/index.htm
  5. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20070928230000/http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/DH_0783526aa0.pdf
  6. https://www.bipsolutions.com/docstore/pdf/14438.pdf
  7. https://www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/assets/media/17-15-02-A-Guide-For-Young-People.pdf
  8. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/525843/BlackandminorityethnicmenwhohavesexwithmenProjectevaluationandsystematicreview.pdf
  9. https://nationallgbtpartnershipdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/lgbt-public-health-outcomes-framework-companion-doc.pdf
  10. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/promoting-the-health-and-wellbeing-of-gay-bisexual-and-other-men-who-have-sex-with-men
  11. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-and-wellbeing-of-lesbian-and-bisexual-women-lbwsw
  12. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preventing-suicide-lesbian-gay-and-bisexual-young-people
  13. http://www.clinmed.rcpjournal.org/content/16/5/405.long
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4806482/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758978/
  16. http://www.diversityandinclusionawards.com/shortlist