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MDH commissioner announces appointments to Equitable Health Care Task Force

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Dr. Brooke Cunningham today announced the following appointments to the Equitable Health Care Task Force:

Sara Bolnick, director of communications and partnerships, Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers - Member representing advocacy organizations

Elizete Diaz, senior social worker, Hennepin County: Long term services and supports - Member representing Latina/o/x communities

Elijahjuan (Eli) Dotts, health equity manager, Prime West Health - General member

Mary Engels, senior director of organizational learning and development, Essentia Health - General member

Marc Gorelick, MD, president and chief executive officer, Children's Minnesota - General member

Bukata Hayes, vice president, racial and health equity and chief equity officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota - General member

Joy Marsh, vice president, equity and inclusion, UCare - Member representing African American communities

Maria Medina, system director of equity initiatives, Fairview Health Services - General member

Vayong Moua, racial and health equity advocacy director, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota - Member representing health coverage organizations

Mumtaz (Taj) Mustapha, MD, chief of equity strategy, M Health Fairview - General member

Laurelle Myhra, director, Mino Bimaadiziwin Wellness Clinic - Member representing American Indian communities

Cybill Oragwu, MD, attending physician, CentraCare Health - Member representing health care providers

Miamon Queeglay, assistant director of outreach and engagement, University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry - Member representing African heritage communities

Nneka Sederstrom, chief health equity officer, Hennepin Healthcare - General member

Megan Chao Smith, RN, mental health acute partial hospitalization, Abbott Northwestern Hospital - Member representing LGBTQIA+ communities

Patrick Simon S. Soria, DNP, MAN, MHA(c), RN, president-elect, Philippine Nurses Association of Central Minnesota - Member representing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities

Sonny Wasilowski - Member representing disability communities

Erin Westfall, DO, program director and director of osteopathic education, Mayo Clinic Family Medicine Residency (Mankato) - General member

Tyler Winkelman, MD, co-director health, homelessness, and criminal justice lab, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute; past-president, Minnesota EHR Consortium - General member

Yeng M. Yang, MD, regional medical director of primary care, HealthPartners - General member

“Year after year, the data show Minnesota is one of the healthiest states with some of the worst health disparities,” Commissioner Cunningham said. “One of my primary goals as commissioner is to make sure all Minnesotans have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This task force is a critical component of our work, and I could not be more proud of the quality and level of expertise represented among these members.”

The Equitable Health Care Task Force was established by the Minnesota Legislature during its 2023 session. The task force’s charge is to examine inequities in how people experience health care based on race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, age and disability. It will identify strategies for ensuring that all Minnesotans can receive care and coverage that is respectful and ensures optimal health outcomes.

To accomplish this, the task force will conduct community engagement across multiple systems, sectors and communities to identify barriers for these population groups that result in diminished standards of care and foregone care. The task force is also charged with identifying promising practices to improve the experience of care and health outcomes for people in these population groups.

The task force’s work will conclude with recommendations for changes in health care system practices or health insurance regulations to address identified issues. Those recommendations will be included in reports submitted for legislative consideration and posted on the Equitable Health Care Task Force webpage.

MDH will convene the first meeting of the task force on Jan. 17, 2024, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. All meetings of the task force will be open to the public. Information about this upcoming meeting will be available soon on the Equitable Health Care Task Force webpage.



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