BY: Najla Alexander
According to NJ officials, two additional public hearings will be held in November by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic Task Force on Racial and Health Disparities, charged with evaluating and making recommendations to help address the inequities that have led to the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s communities of color.
Officials say the 23-member task force, created under the legislation signed by Governor Murphy in June 2021, will offer recommendations on strategies to:
Address the racial, ethnic, and health disparities and historical and systematic inequalities about race and ethnicity that have amplified the death rate in the state’s minority and vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Address the short- and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state’s minority and vulnerable communities, and reduce and eliminate disparities among the various racial and ethnic populations within the state’s minority and vulnerable communities concerning health status.
As reported by officials, it address the need to access high-quality health care and utilization of health care services.
“We know social determinants of health – where people live, work, go to school – and the role of implicit bias affects people’s health and their quality of life. We also recognize that the long-standing inequities that have contributed to health disparities affecting racial and ethnic groups also put them at increased risk for COVID-19,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have used a health equity lens in all parts of the state’s response and recovery. New Jersey – as one of the most diverse states in the nation – has a distinct role to play in setting an example of working toward an equitable reality.”
The upcoming hearings will be held at Camden Campus Center Multipurpose Room, 326 Penn St., on Wednesday, November 2, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Lecture Hall B552, 185 South Orange Ave. on Wednesday, November 9, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The public hearings can also be watched live at linktr.ee/njcovid. The first public hearing was held on October 13 at the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.