GVSU staffer explains MI COVID-19 racial disparity task force


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — About 40% of the people who have died of COVID-19 in Michigan have been African American, even though they make up less than 15% of the state’s population.

Monday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the formation of a task force that will study the causes and impact of racial disparities in fighting this virus.

Connie Dang is the director of GVSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and special assistant for Inclusive Community Outreach. Dang is one of 23 people chosen to serve on the Cornavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.

“Creating the task force is a step in the right direction. This body will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and we will study the causes of racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19,” Dang said.

Dang says she hopes based on the findings, the task force will recommend, develop and implement actions in ways that remove systemic barriers and close the disparity gaps for communities of color.

“I think some of the ways that I can contribute to the word of the task force is to increase transparency in reporting data, regarding the racial and ethnic impact of COVID-19, to remove some barriers to accessing physical and mental health care, reduce the impact of medical bias in testing and also to develop and improve systems for supporting long-term economic recovery and mental health care following a pandemic,” Dang said.

To learn more about the task force headed up by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, visit the state’s website.


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