James E.K. Hildreth, president/CEO of Meharry Medical College, has been named to President Biden’s COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. In response, Hildreth released the following statement:
“I am honored to be chosen by President Biden as a member of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force,” said Dr. Hildreth.
“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.
“The COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force will provide recommendations for addressing health inequities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and for preventing such inequities in the future.”
Hildreth has been pivotal in Nashville’s response to the pandemic. Among many of his credentials, Dr. Hildreth is an internationally acclaimed immunologist whose work has focused on several human viruses including HIV. He currently serves on the advisory council for the NIH director and as a member of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
Dr. Hildreth has also led Meharry’s efforts to ensure that disadvantaged communities have access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines.