Senate President Spilka Announces Appointments to COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

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Today, Senate President Karen E. Spilka announced her appointments to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

“We must do everything we can to urgently address the disparate health impacts exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic across our state, especially as Senate zeroes-in on addressing racial inequities elsewhere in our society,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “The formation of this task force and its recommendations will help provide a road map for improving health care services across the Commonwealth, particularly in our communities of color who were disproportionally impacted by the coronavirus. I want to thank each of my appointees in advance for lending their time, voice and expertise to this critical issue.”

As outlined under An Act Addressing COVID-19 Data Collections and Disabilities in Treatment which was signed into law, the task force will study health disparities for underserved or underrepresented populations based on culture, race, ethnicity, language, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, geographic location and age during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group will then make recommendations to the legislature on how to move forward on addressing those disparities. The task force will make recommendations in the following areas:

Improving safety for populations at increased risk for COVID-19;
Removing barriers and increase access to quality and equitable health care services and treatment;
Increasing access to medical supplies;
Increasing access to testing for COVID-19;
Ways to provide information materials to underserved or underrepresented populations on available and affordable health care resources;
Any other factor the task force deems relevant to address health disparities.

The Senate President’s appointees are as follows:
Michael Curry, Deputy CEO and General Counsel at Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers
Dr. Milagros Abreu, Executive Director, President and Founder of The Latino Health Insurance Program
Dr. Cassandra Pierre, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University and infectious diseases physician at Boston Medical Center
Dr. Frank Robinson, Vice President of Public Health and Community Relations at Baystate Health
State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Boston)
State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro)

The full task force will convene once all appointments have been made.