LUNGevity Foundation Appoints Arif J. Vega, PhD, as Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion - Engagement and Outreach


Arif J. Vega, PhD

LUNGevity Foundation, the nation's leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce Arif J. Vega, PhD, as the organization's Director of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion – Engagement and Outreach.

Dr. Vega comes to LUNGevity with a distinguished 26-year career in healthcare where he has developed, implemented, and managed programs that focused on the intersection of representation, access, and HIV/HCV care. Most recently, as the Senior Administrator for the Maryland Department of Health Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, he created strategies to address medical care inequities within minority communities while managing CARES ACT grants totaling over $3.8 million.

Before his tenure at the Maryland Department of Health, Dr. Vega served as Senior Director of Diversity and HIV Medical Programs and Services for Mary's Center, where he was Instrumental in implementing strategy and embedding diversity, equity, service learning, and civic engagement within agency-wide policy and training curriculum.

In his new role, Dr. Vega will engage medically underserved populations with trusted stakeholders to gain community insights and deliver information, hope, and awareness for optimal lung cancer care. He will also work with legislators at the state and federal level (eg, Black and Latinx Caucuses) to address issues relevant to access to quality lung cancer care throughout the care continuum for vulnerable communities.

"We are truly excited to welcome Dr. Vega to our team," stated Jeanne Regnante, LUNGevity Foundation's Chief Health Equity and Diversity Officer. "Arif brings with him a wealth of experience as well as a profound understanding of the effects of health disparities on vulnerable communities. We look forward to his contributions to expanding our efforts to secure quality care for all lung cancer patients and their families."

Fluent in nine languages (German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, Japanese, Czech, and Polish), Dr. Vega has a PhD in Psycholinguistics and an MBA from Harvard University. He obtained his Master of Psychology Counseling from Pace University.

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is the nation's leading lung cancer organization focused on improving outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, policy initiatives, education, support, and engagement for patients, survivors, and caregivers. LUNGevity seeks to make an immediate impact on quality of life and survivorship for everyone touched by the disease—while promoting health equity by addressing disparities throughout the care continuum. LUNGevity works tirelessly to advance research into early detection and more effective treatments, provide information and educational tools to empower patients and their caregivers, promote impactful public policy initiatives, and amplify the patient voice through research and engagement. The organization provides an active community for patients and survivors—and those who help them live longer and better lives.

Comprehensive resources include a medically vetted and patient-centric website, a toll-free HELPLine for support, the International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference, and an easy-to-use Clinical Trial Finder, among other tools. All of these programs are to achieve our vision—a world where no one dies of lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation is proud to be a four-star Charity Navigator organization.

Please visit to learn more.

About Lung Cancer in the US

  • About 1 in 16 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than 235,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
  • About 60%-65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer takes more lives than the next three leading cancers (colorectal, breast, and prostate) combined.
  • Only 22% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it's caught before it spreads, the chance of 5-year survival improves dramatically.

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