COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

The Center for Minority Health Services was created by statute as a vehicle for implementing change. It is designed to assess the health concerns of minority populations in Illinois and to assist in the creation and maintenance of culturally sensitive programs. To achieve this goal the Center works within the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and with other relevant state and local entities to heighten awareness of minority health issues and services across the state. This work launched the creation of the Health Equity Council (HEC).

Under the direction of Director Ngozi Ezike, the Illinois Department of Public Health has made health equity an overarching goal and one of the agencies top priorities to eliminate disparities in health for all Illinoisans. This involves leading through a health equity lens to increase the effectiveness of programs and services administered through IDPH, that seek to increase health equity and eliminate health disparities through increased coordination with leadership, programs, and strategic partnerships.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt all communities; however, data highlights a disproportionate burden among racial and ethnicity groups.  As such, the Task Force works to stop the spread of the Coronavirus in disparate communities, and to better understand and address the social determinants of health that contribute to the disproportionate cases and fatalities of the Coronavirus. The Task Force consists of representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health, other state and local agencies, and community partners statewide. 

The COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force seeks to:

  • Identify emerging issues and patterns impacting medically and socially vulnerable communities and then assess and propose specific actionable recommendations.
  • Amplify critical unmet needs to key leaders and propose equitable solutions.
  • Provide timely equity analysis on issues to maximize benefit and avoid harm and inequitable outcomes for communities of concern.
  • Track and follow issues and recommendations to resolution and communicate back to key leaders and communities of concern.

Workgroups are formed as needs are identified, and all but the AdHoc workgroup are focused on immediate COVID-19 tasks as well as long term sustainable goals. All workgroups meet independently and report out at the weekly taskforce meetings for larger discussions. There is cross-collaboration among the groups.

  • AdHoc (quick response items)
  • Behavioral Health
  • Communication
  • Data
  • Domestic Violence/Child Abuse
  • Economic Development
  • Evaluation
  • Funding
  • Mass Incarceration
  • Rural Health/Migrants
  • Seniors & Mobile Units
  • Testing Strategies
  • Worker Health & Safety

Currently the main Taskforce meets weekly on Thursdays at 1:30 PM. Workgroups meet independently. For more detailed information on work groups, please click here.

The COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Representatives

HHS Announces Partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine to Fight COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority and Vulnerable Communities

$40 Million Initiative Will Help Communities Hardest Hit by the Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) announced the selection of the Morehouse School of Medicine as the awardee for a new $40 million initiative to fight COVID-19 in racial and ethnic minority, rural and socially vulnerable communities. The Morehouse School of Medicine will enter into a cooperative agreement with OMH to lead the initiative to coordinate a strategic network of national, state, territorial, tribal and local organizations to deliver COVID-19-related information to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

For more information about the COVID-19 Equity Team, please contact:
IDPH Center for Minority Health Services
535 W. Jefferson Street, Springfield IL, 62761
Phone: 217-785-4311

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention