Eight Southern University leaders join health equity task force

sucovis webSouthern University System will have eight representatives on Governor John Bel Edwards Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The task force, which will meet for the first time on Friday, April 24, will focus on research and actions to improve health outcomes and equity for the state’s residents in response to COVID-19. The group’s progress will be monitored by a statewide Health Equity Dashboard.

Sandra Brown, Ph.D., dean of the Southern University College of Nursing and Allied Health, will serve as co-chair of the task force. “It is an honor to serve the citizens of Louisiana on the COVID-19 Health Equity Taskforce,” she said. “I look forward to working with a distinguished diverse group of experts from across the state who are committed to addressing the health disparities that specifically challenge minorities and vulnerable populations in Louisiana not only in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in advancing health equity for decades to come.”

“Louisiana has for many years been among the least healthy states and the racial disparities seen around the country are as evident here as it is elsewhere. I am particularly delighted that Governor Edwards has prioritized health equity and I am hopeful that we will be able to make a difference for our state,” said co-chair Dr. Thomas LaVeist, Dean of Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.


Dr. Thomas LaVeist

Southern University System president-chancellor Ray L. Belton, Ph.D. and chief of staff Katara Williams, Ph.D., will serve on the task force’s administration along with SU alum and Commissioner of the Louisiana Board of Regents, Kim Hunter-Reed, Ph.D.

Orlando F. McMeans, Ph.D.,, chancellor-dean of the Southern University Ag Center and the College of Agricultural, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, Southern University System Board Member and family practice physician.

Deleso A. Alford, professor of law at the Southern University Law Center and expert on marginalized people in American healthcare, and Damien Ejigiri,Ph.D, dean and professor of the Nelson Mandela School of Government and Social Sciences will serve on the task force’s public and regulatory policy subcommittee and focus on policies and laws that impact health disparities.

Other members are:

Earl Benjamin-Robinson, Dr.H.Sc. Louisiana Department of Health- Office of Health Equity, Community Partnerships, Deputy Director

Dr. Takeisha Davis, CEO, New Orleans East Hospital

Dr. Rebekah E. Gee, CEO, LSU Health Care Services

Dr. Corey Hebert, Dillard University, Chief Medical Officer / Assistant professor – Tulane and LSU

Theron J. Jackson, Morning Star Baptist Church, Pastor

Raymond A. Jetson, CEO, MetroMorphosis

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, NAACP, State President

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

Judy Reese Morse, CEO, Urban League of Louisiana

Demetrius Porche, DNS, LSUHSC School of Nursing – Dean and Professor, and President, Louisiana Council of Administration of Nursing Education

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

Dr. Gary M. Wiltz, CEO, Teche Action Clinics

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
  • Damien Ejigiri, Ph.D., Southern University and A&M College
  • Eric van Holm, Ph.D., University of New Orleans
  • Alma C. Stewart, R.N., Louisiana Center for Health Equity
  • Christopher J. Tyson, J.D., LSU Law Center

Nursing (Provides input from the group that comprises the largest percentage of health professionals in the healthcare workforce)

  • Alicia Bates, PhD, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
  • Mary Meg Brown, PhD, Grambling State University
  • Leanne Fowler, DNP, LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing
  • Tavell L. Kindall, APRN, Loyola University,
  • Cindy Schneider, MSN, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
  • Kathleen Tate, EdD, Northwestern State University
  • Jeanine S. Thomas, PhD, South Louisiana Community College

Medical Community (Provides significant contributions in the medical field relative to COVID-19)

  • Kristi L. Anderson, Ph.D. LSUHSC-Lafayette
  • Dr. Raynando L. Banks, Baton Rouge General Mayo Clinic Care Network
  • Dr. Keith Ferdinand, Tulane University
  • Dr. Robert Maupin, LSUHC-New Orleans

Health Disparities and Research (Provides research and data regarding the disparities aligned with COVID-19)

  • Connie Arnold, Ph.D., LSUHSC- Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
  • Terry C. Davis, Ph.D., LSUHC-Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
  • Margarite Echevveri, Ph.D., Xavier University
  • Peter Fos, Ph.D., Dillard University
  • Faye Grimsley, PhD, CIH, MSPH, Xavier University
  • Dr. Amy Lesen, Dillard University
  • Rhoda Reddix, Ph.D., Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University
  • Daniel Sarpong, Ph.D., Xavier University
  • Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD,  University of Louisiana at Monroe

Data and Analytics (Provides expertise in the analysis of relevant data which will add to the work of the committee)

  • Dr. Ziad Ashkar, University of Louisiana-Lafayette
    Director – Louisiana Center for Health Innovation and Chair in Health Informatics
  • Jacqueline Harris, Ph.D., Grambling State University
  • Simone Rambotti, Ph.D., Loyola University

Community Outreach and Engagement (Provides input on community outreach and extension activities, especially in lower socioeconomic parishes with high incidence rates)

  • Shelina Davis, MPH, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute
  • Tina B. Granger, MSW, Nicholls State University
  • Catherine G. Haywood, director,  Louisiana Community Health Workers Outreach Network, Inc. (LACHON)
  • Rudy Macklin, BS, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Bureau of Minority Health Access
  • Tiffany Netters, executive director, 504HealthNet, Inc.
  • Dereck J. Rovaris Sr., Ph.D., Louisiana State University, Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer

Taskforce Administration

  • Ray L. Belton, Ph.D., President-Chancellor Southern University System
  • Kim Hunter-Reed, Ph.D., Louisiana Board of Regents
  • Kimberly Lewis Robinson, JD, MPA, Louisiana Department of Revenue
  • Katara Williams, Ph.D., Southern University System
  • Adren Wilson, Ph.D., Office of the Governor Deputy Chief of Staff

ONLINE: COVID-19 Task Force

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