From the Detroit Health Department, to guiding Michigan through the pandemic, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, will now be using her experience to help guide the Biden administration on health equity in the midst of the nation's biggest vaccine rollout in history.
Khaldun, along with 11 others from across the nation, was named to the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, per a White House press release from Wednesday, Feb. 10.
The task force is aimed at combatting disparities in testing, cases, hospitalizations and mortality that emerged at the beginning of the pandemic. They will issue recommendations to the Biden administration regarding the equitable allocation of COVID-19 resources, effective outreach to underserved populations and improving cultural proficiency within the administration.
The task force will culminate to a final report describing drivers of COVID-19 inequities and actions to ensure that future responses do not ignore health inequities.
Khaldun has served as Michigan's Chief Health Executive since April 15, 2019, helping guide Michigan's pandemic response.
As of Tuesday, deaths of Black residents accounted for 22% of state COVID-19 deaths while only making up 13% of the population. During the April peak, Black residents accounted for around 40% of deaths.
Prior to her current role, Khaldun served as the Director of the Detroit Health Department and as Baltimore City Health Department’s Chief Medical Officer.
Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 21, creating the task force, which is chaired by Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
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