COVID-19 Equity Task Force June 2021 Update

by Trinidad Tellez,  MD, Health Equity Strategist

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force was convened in March of 2020 to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response and has met regularly since then with close to 60 individuals consistently participating, and new participants joining regularly. Members include individual community members and leaders, local community-based organizations, non-profit and advocacy organizations, as well as state and municipal government staff.  

The Task Force meetings include time as a group where members receive regular updates on COVID vaccine allocation and share policy updates – especially during this active legislative session. We have had recent presentations on important topics of interest to the group such as a Benefits Update by Dawn McKinney from NH Legal Assistance, a Vaccine Science Update from Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, Deputy State Epidemiologist, a Strengthening Families and Communities presentation by Maria Doyle from NH Children’s Trust, and An Overview of the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program by Lynn Lippitt, Director of Housing Services, NH Housing. Meetings also include time in breakout workgroups to collaboratively develop action steps to address needs and disparities that have been magnified by the pandemic. Our current workgroups include: Concerns Related to Immigrants; Digital Divide and Education; Food Insecurity; Justice-Involved Populations / Detention & Incarceration; Substance Use and Mental Health; Older Adults and People With Disabilities. And there is interest in developing capacity around communications to promote vaccination and address vaccine hesitancy/confidence. 

We are lucky to have the support of MPH interns thanks to our Board President, Gail Tudor from Southern NH University (SNHU). Meghan Boyer is currently finishing up work on a Task Force participant survey that will help inform the future direction of our work. And the Task Force recently welcomed intern Sara Akramy, who will be working with the Food Insecurity Work Group and the NH Food Access Coalition, assessing the partners and available resources in the NH food system environment to build connection and possible coordination. Additionally, we look forward to the possibility of being able to hire another part-time coordinator to support the work of the Task Force; details will be forthcoming soon.

NHPHA is proud to be the convener of this important work, and is incredibly grateful for the contributions and collaborative relationships that have been built, and looks forward to shepherding its continued success into the future. If you would like to join or learn more about the Task Force please contact [email protected]


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