Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Statement on Meeting with COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Nunez-Smith and HHS and CDC Officials Regarding Equity in COVID-19 Relief Efforts
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Last week, Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) met with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Chair of the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, to discuss recommendations on equity and to ensure Hispanic and immigrant communities are prioritized in the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 relief efforts. CHC Members also met with HHS and CDC leaders who are working to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, including Dr. Rachel L. Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health; RADM Dr. Felicia Collins, Director of the Office of Minority Health; and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, CDC Senior Lead on COVID-19 Data and Engagement.
CHC Members discussed several recommendations for HHS and CDC to ensure COVID-19 relief efforts reach the hardest hit Hispanic communities—including identifying and sharing the best practices for reaching and engaging Hispanic populations, incorporating more community-based decisions, and increasing culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging on COVID-19 through various platforms. CHC Chair Dr. Raul Ruiz released the following statement after the meeting:
“The Hispanic community continues to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic with high rates of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said Chair Dr. Ruiz. “I’d like to thank Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, Dr. Rachel L. Levine, RADM Dr. Felicia Collins, and Dr. Demetre Daskalakis for meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Members to share the work the Biden Administration, HHS, and the CDC are doing to make sure equity is at the forefront of COVID-19 relief efforts.”
“The CHC looks forward to continuing to work with the White House, HHS, and the CDC to share best practices on engaging with Hispanic communities, forming and strengthening relationships between trusted community partners and key players in COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and ensuring accurate information on vaccine eligibility is shared with Hispanic and immigrant communities. Health inequities harm public health overall, and it is critical that COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines are distributed according to health equity principles. Doing so will not only help stop the spread of COVID-19, but will help ensure critical economic, educational, and social activities resume.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.