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Biden picks Meharry’s Dr. James Hildreth for COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

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Posted at 10:56 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 11:56:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — President Joe Biden has selected Dr. James Hildreth, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, as one of 12 members of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced the members of the task force on Wednesday, saying they will "provide recommendations for addressing health inequities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and for preventing such inequities in the future."

Dr. Hildreth released a statement, saying he's "excited" to be named a member of the task force. Read his full statement below:

I am honored to be chosen by President Biden as a member of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

We are facing one of the largest challenges in the history of our nation. COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, and if adequate steps are not taken, this number will continue to grow. As we have seen, COVID-19 does not discriminate, it does not respect borders, and it does not behave according to our timelines.

The virus has had the largest impact on our communities of color, among Black and brown Americans with underlying health conditions. Without our immediate attention and a national, organized effort to fight this virus, we will be dealing with its impact for years to come.

As the President of a historically Black medical school that was founded to eradicate health disparities between majority and minority communities, this work is a focus for me and my institution. I am committed to working with our national leadership to develop cohesive plans that will address these silent killers - illnesses like COVID-19 that impact our most vulnerable populations at alarming rates.

We must address the pandemic together. I am confident that President Biden’s heightened focus on the pandemic will accelerate testing, treatment and vaccinations nationwide -- proven strategies that will work to mitigate the virus and protect our people.

I look forward to working with my esteemed colleagues on the Task Force to restore health, wellbeing and stability to all of America.

Dr. Hildreth also serves on the advisory council for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) director and as a member of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.