Theron Jackson appointed to Governor’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

BATON ROUGE/SHREVEPORT – (Governor’s Office / KOKA) Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed members to the Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity 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, Ph.D. (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

Raymond A. Jetson
Chief Executive Catalyst

Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Professor and Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes/Assoc. Exec. Dir. for Population and Public Health Sciences, LSU

Kathleen B. Kennedy, Pharm.D.
Xavier University of Louisiana
Dean and Malcolm Ellington Professor of Health Disparities Research Endowed Professorship in the College of Pharmacy

Michael W. McClanahan
State President

Orlando McMeans, Ph.D.
Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Judy Reese Morse
Urban League of Louisiana
President and CEO

Demetrius Porche, DNS, PhD, APRN, ANEF, FACHE, FAANP, FAAN
LSUHSC School of Nursing – Dean and Professor
President, Louisiana Council of Administration of Nursing Education

Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.
Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group
Family Practice Physician

Gary M. Wiltz, M.D.
Teche Action Clinics
Chief Executive Officer

Sen. Regina Barrow
Louisiana State Senate
District 15

Rep. Dustin Miller
Louisiana House of Representatives
District 40

“It is my privilege to be asked to serve. I think my role is to work as a voice for those in our community who need the most help and often have the least access. Healthcare, public health policy, and conversations around health inequities can be foreign dialogue to people in many communities, and I believe my role is one of interpretation. The best and brightest medical professionals and public health gurus who will serve on this task force, and I look forward to serving with them. The stakes are high for Louisiana, and COVID-19 has been critically exposing. Nothing changes; if nothing changes,” said Theron Jackson – Pastor at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. “Data released by the state Department of Health shows that pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease are playing a major role in the death rate of coronavirus in Louisiana. But a growing body of research indicates that long-term exposure to air pollution can also be a factor. So, whether it is the pre-existing condition of racism and discrimination that makes African Americans vulnerable or environmental injustice, which puts African Americans and poor people in Louisiana in a vulnerable position because of their proximity to air pollution, something must be done. So, I hope that this task force will produce deliverables that will hold the promise of changing the trajectory of health outcomes for all Louisianians, but particularly for those most often left behind.”

The task force’s 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.

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