Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical officer and chief deputy director for health for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), has been tapped for a new Biden administration task force to address COVID-19 related health and social inequities.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the country, it has had a disproportionate impact on some of our most vulnerable communities. Shortly after COVID-19 was first identified in the United States, disparities in testing, cases, hospitalizations and mortality began to emerge. These inequities were quickly evident by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors,” a White House press release states.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 21 creating the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. It is chaired by Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith and has members from across the country.
“So honored to be nominated by President Biden to serve on the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force along such accomplished colleagues. Much work to do, but I am ready!” Khaldun wrote on Twitter.
The panel will issue recommendations to help inform the COVID-19 response and recovery, including equitable allocation of COVID-19 resources and relief funds, effective outreach and communication to underserved and minority populations and improving cultural proficiency within the federal government. Additional recommendations include efforts to improve data collection and use, as well as a long-term plan to address data shortfalls regarding communities of color and other underserved populations.
Federal departments involved in the task force are: the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, and Department of Labor.