Biden appoints Khaldun to COVID equity task force

    Dr. Joneigh Khaldun gives an update on COVID-19 | Gov. Whitmer office photo

    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.

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    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.