Type: Public event

Lessons learned: Reflecting on Michigan's response to COVID-19 health disparities

COVID-19 reflections: A series on race, health & economic justice

Date & time

Jun 10, 2022, 10:00-11:30 am EDT


This is a Virtual Event.

The final event in our COVID-19 reflections series will feature Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer at CVS Health and former Chief Medical Executive for the State of Michigan, in conversation with Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes, the Director of the Center for Racial Justice. Together, they will reflect on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic and will discuss the key lessons learned from Michigan's response to COVID-19 health disparities.

From the speaker's bios

Joneigh S. Khaldun, MD, MPH, FACEP is a nationally recognized healthcare executive, health policy and public health expert who currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer for CVS Health. In this role she advances strategy, programs and policy to achieve health equity across all CVS Health lines of business. Prior to this she served as Chief Medical Executive for theState of Michigan and Chief Deputy Director for Health in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, where she oversaw public health, Medicaid, behavioral health, and aging services. She was the lead strategist guiding Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's COVID-19 response and in 2021 was appointed by President Biden to the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

Dr. Khaldun has spearheaded the design and implementation of several system-changing projects at the intersection of public health and clinical medicine. She is known for her ability to lead teams through crisis as well as take innovative and bold ideas from conceptualization to precise operational execution and results. Prior to her role in the State of Michigan, she was appointed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to lead the rebuilding of the Detroit Health Department. There, her accomplishments include building the city's opioid overdose response efforts; spearheading programs to address infant mortality and teen pregnancy during a time when Detroit saw the lowest infant mortality rate ever recorded in history; designing and implementing a neighborhood-based lead outreach and testing program; launching Detroit's first online restaurant inspection reporting system; creating a professional development program for staff; and successfully leading Detroit's response to the largest hepatitis A outbreak in modern U.S. history. Dr. Khaldun formerly served as Chief Medical Officer of the Baltimore City Health Department overseeing all clinical operations and worked in the Obama-Biden Administration's Office of Health Reform, supporting implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She has received multiple awards including 40 under 40 Leader in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum; 40 Under 40 Leader in Public Health by the deBeaumont Foundation; George Washington University Monumental Alumni Award; 2020 Crain's Detroit Newsmaker of the Year, Detroit News 2021 Michiganian of the Year; and 2022 USA Today Woman of the Year. She is a board-certified practicing emergency medicine physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

About the series

This semester, the Center for Racial Justice is organizing a virtual event series that reflects on the local- and state-level policies that have been instrumental in responding to the racialized health and economic disparities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The series brings together a diverse group of changemakers, including national and local policymakers, journalists, researchers, and community leaders, to (1) meditate on the past and current racial dynamics of COVID-19 in Michigan and Detroit, and to (2) discuss the policies, programs, and practices that have successfully responded to the needs of communities of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Events will be held on April 1, May 6, and June 10.

Led by Dr. Celeste Watkins-Hayes, the Center for Racial Justice is dedicated to education, research, and action in pursuit of racial justice. One of the center’s goals is to harness public policy as a tool of racial equity and to spotlight the voices of changemakers who are doing this critical work. The National Center for Institutional Diversity, as well as Poverty Solutions, led by Dr. Luke Shaefer, are co-sponsors of this event.

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