The Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities recently released their first interim report. MPHI’s CEO, Dr. Renée Branch Canady, was appointed to the task force by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and serves under the leadership of Lt., Gov. Garlin Gilchrist. The task force is developing strategies to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

“The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the health, economic, and educational challenges that communities of color face daily,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “(This) report shows that significant progress has been made toward our goal to reduce these disparities over the past six months. But as cases continue to rise, we need to recognize that our work is not done because each of us has a role to play to ensure that we defeat this virus. When we successfully make it to the other side of this pandemic, we will hug each other a little tighter, check in on each other a little more, and be proud of the work we did to make each other’s lives better.”

The task force has been initially focused on increasing COVID-19 testing and connecting communities of color with essential resources and programs to offset the pandemic’s financial impact. It is also working to assist with the economic challenges that have come with the pandemic.

More than six million free face masks have been delivered to vulnerable Michigan populations so far. Another priority of the task force is to increase susceptible community members’ access to health care providers, mostly virtually. Moving forward, the group intends to close the “digital divide” by ensuring minority communities have better access to the internet, telehealth services, and virtual learning.

The Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities consists of leaders from government, universities, health, economic development, education, and other disciplines.

You can read the full report here.