BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced the creation of the Health Equity Task Force Friday, April 10 during his daily COVID-19 media briefing.
The task force will look at how health inequities are affecting communities that are most impacted by the coronavirus.
“We know that right now 70 percent of our deaths in Louisiana from coronavirus are African Americans. This is a disturbing trend and one that deserves our attention, which is why we are engaging a group of leaders right now while the crisis is still ongoing,” Governor Edwards said.
On Friday, April 24 Governor Edwards announced that he is making $500,000 from the Governor’s COVID-19 Response Fund available to the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Taskforce.
The taskforce will help examine the causes and possible solutions to the high rate of deaths from the coronavirus within Louisiana’s African-American community and other impacted populations.
"The disparity in deaths is especially worrisome, and we need to do everything we can to determine why this is happening,” said Governor Edwards. “African-Americans make up approximately 33 percent of our population yet account for nearly 60 percent of the deaths from this virus. We have an obligation to look for answers and this task force will provide recommendations for addressing the health inequities affecting all communities that are most impacted by this virus. Funding is essential for that work to begin as soon as possible. One death is one too many in any community, and I am committed to helping everyone in our state live healthier lives.”
The funding will be used to conduct the following:
- Science-based research
- A comprehensive evidenced-based analysis of the determinants of health equity that influences racial health disparities
- Evidenced-based analysis of interventions that positively impact health equity and address disparities.
- An examination of the population dynamics (political, economic, social, technological, and legal) that are indicative of health equity and disparities to formulate a state wide dashboard.
- Provide health awareness educational media campaigns.
- Assessments of the status of the state’s response as it affects vulnerable populations and the impact of COVID-19
The governor has asked universities from across the state and research institutions to lead this effort.
“When we talk about health equity, we mean everyone has the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. The great thing is that the findings and recommendations made by this Task Force will help everyone better access quality care and improve health outcomes." Governor Edwards said.
The universities and research institutions that will participate in the task force include:
- Southern University’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy
- Xavier University’s Department of Public Health Sciences
- Health Science Centers at LSU and Tulane
- LDH Office of Public Health
- LDH Bureau of Minority Health Access
- Pennington Biomedical Research Center
- Schools of Nursing at all of Louisiana’s universities
Edwards announced the names of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force co-chairs and members Monday, April 21. He says their work will begin immediately, and its actions and research will result in improved health outcomes and equity in Louisiana. A statewide Health Equity Dashboard will be created to monitor the progress of the task force.
Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force:
Sandra Brown, DNS, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE, ANEF, FAANP, FAAN (co-chair) - Southern University and A&M Baton Rouge Dean and Professor, College of Nursing and Allied Health
Thomas LaVeist, PhD (co-chair) - Tulane University Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity, Dean of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
Earl “Nupsius” Benjamin-Robinson, Dr. H.Sc. - Louisiana Department of Health- Office of Health Equity, Community Partnerships Deputy Director
Takeisha Davis, M.D. - New Orleans East Hospital Chief Executive Officer
Rebekah E. Gee, M.D. - LSU Health Care Services Chief Executive Officer
Corey Hebert, M.D. - Dillard University Chief Medical Officer / Assistant professor - Tulane and LSU
Theron J. Jackson - Morning Star Baptist Church Pastor
Raymond A. Jetson - MetroMorphosis Chief Executive Catalyst
Peter Katzmarzyk, PhD - Pennington Biomedical Research CenterP rofessor and Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes/Assoc. Exec. Dir. for Population and Public Health Sciences, LSU
Kathleen B. Kennedy, PharmD - Xavier University of Louisiana Dean and Malcolm Ellington Professor of Health Disparities Research Endowed Professorship in the College of Pharmacy
Michael W. McClanahan - NAACP State President
Orlando McMeans, PhD - Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center Chancellor
Judy Reese Morse - Urban League of Louisiana President and CEO
Demetrius Porche, DNS, PhD, APRN, ANEF, FACHE, FAANP, FAANLSUHSC School of Nursing – Dean and Professor President, Louisiana Council of Administration of Nursing Education
Rani G. Whitfield, MD - Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group Family Practice Physician
Gary M. Wiltz, MD - Teche Action Clinics Chief Executive Officer
Sen. Regina Barrow - Louisiana State Senate District 15
Rep. Dustin Miller - Louisiana House of Representatives District 40
Task Force Subcommittees
Public and Regulatory Policy (Provides input relative to policies and laws that impacts health disparities)
Deleso A. Alford, J.D., - LL.M.Southern University Law Center Professor of Law
Damien Ejigiri, Ph.D. - Southern University and A&M CollegeDean and Professor - Nelson Mandela School of Government and Social Sciences
Eric van Holm, Ph.D. - University of New OrleansAssistant Professor, Political Science
Alma C. Stewart, R.N., - M.SLouisiana Center for Health Equity President and Founder
Christopher J. Tyson, J.D.LSU Law CenterNewman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law
Nursing (Provides input from the group that comprises the largest percentage of health professionals in the healthcare workforce)
Alicia Bates, PhD, NP-C, CDE Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady UniversityAssistant Professor, FNP Program Director
Mary Meg Brown, PhD, - RN, ACNS-BC Grambling State University Associate Dean and Professor - School of Nursing
Leanne Fowler, DNP, MBA, APRN, AGACNP-BC, CNE LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing Assistant Professor of Clinical NursingDirector of NP Programs, Coordinator of AGACNP Concentration
Tavell L. Kindall, - APRN, FNP-BC, DNP Loyola University, Adjunct Instructor St. Thomas Community Health CenterNurse Practitioner and Director HIV Prevention and Treatment Center
Cindy Schneider, MSN, RN - Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady UniversityAssistant Professor
Kathleen Tate, EdD, MSN, MBA - Associate Professor of Nursing, Northwestern State University
Jeanine S. Thomas, PhD, MSN, RN - Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, South Louisiana Community College
Medical Community (Provides significant contributions in the medical field relative to COVID-19)
Kristi L. Anderson - LSUHC-Lafayette Director, Graduate Medical Admissions
Raynando L. Banks, MD - Baton Rouge General Mayo Clinic Care Network Family Medicine
Keith Ferdinand, MD - Tulane University Gerald S. Berenson Chair in Preventative Cardiology
Robert Maupin, MD - LSUHC-New OrleansAssociate Dean of Diversity and Community Engagement
Health Disparities and Research (Provides research and data regarding the disparities aligned with COVID-19)
Connie Arnold, Ph.D. - LSUHSC- Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer CenterProfessor of Medicine
Terry C. Davis, Ph.D. - LSUHC-Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer CenterProfessor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Margarite Echevveri, Ph.D. - Xavier UniversityEducational Coordinator in Health Disparities, Cultural Competence and Diversity at the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education
Peter Fos, Ph.D. - Dillard UniversityProfessor of Health and Wellness and Health Equity Researcher
Faye Grimsley, PhD, - CIH, MSPH Xavier UniversityHead, Department of Public Health
Dr. Amy Lesen - Dillard University Associate Professor of Biology and Researcher
Rhoda Reddix, Ph.D.- Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Associate Professor, Director of Service Learning, specialization, health disparities: community engagement and service
Daniel Sarpong, Ph.D. - Xavier University Director of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education, Endowed Chair of Health Disparities and Professor of Biostatistics in the College of Pharmacy
Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH- University of Louisiana at Monroe Associate Professor and Program Director in the Physical Therapy
Data and Analytics( Provides expertise in the analysis of relevant data which will add to the work of the committee)
Ziad Ashkar, MD, MPH - University of Louisiana-Lafayette Director - Louisiana Center for Health Innovation and Chair in Health Informatics
Jacqueline Harris, Ph.D. - Grambling State University Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Simone Rambotti, Ph.D. - Loyola University Assistant Professor of Sociology
Community Outreach and Engagement (Provides input on community outreach and extension activities, especially in lower socioeconomic parishes with high incidence rates)
Shelina Davis, MPH, MSW - Chief Executive Officer Louisiana Public Health Institute
Tina B. Granger, MSW, LMSW - Nicholls State University Sociology Program Coordinator / InstructorCatherine G. Haywood DirectorLouisiana Community Health Workers Outreach Network, Inc. (LACHON)
Rudy Macklin, BS - Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Minority Health Access
Tiffany Netters - 504HealthNet, Inc.Executive Director
Dereck J. Rovaris Sr., Ph.D. -Louisiana State University Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer
Ray L. Belton, Ph.D. - Southern University System President-Chancellor
Kim Hunter-Reed, Ph.D. - Louisiana Board of Regents Commissioner
Kimberly Lewis Robinson, JD, MPA - Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary
Katara Williams, Ph.D. - Southern University System Chief of Staff
Adren Wilson, Ph.D. - Office of the Governor Deputy Chief of Staff
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