Jim, Dr. David Michaels, a former Occupational Safety and Health Administration administrator, and Jane Hopkins, a nurse on Washington State’s COVID-19 task force, join a COVID-19 advisory board that was announced in early November. Other members include former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler, former surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, a professor of internal medicine at Yale University and a health equity researcher. As of Monday, there were 17.3 million COVID-19 cases and 300,032 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Arizona, there were 326,817 confirmed cases of the disease and 6,639 deaths as of Monday, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. “As COVID-19 surges across the country, I need a team advising me and a transition that offers diverse perspectives and viewpoints,” said a November 28 statement from Biden. “Ms. Hopkins, Dr. Jim and Dr. Michaels will strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce.”
Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim selected to serve on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board pic.twitter.com/UPmA13Eu93— Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez (@NNPrezNez) November 28, 2020
Before joining the Navajo Health Department, Jim was a health care analyst for HealthInsight in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a consultant for Navajo Area Indian Health Service, and an epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health, according to the office of the Navajo Nation president and vice president. Tribal community leaders praised Jim’s appointment, saying it will help improve health care for Indigenous individuals and other people of color. “As a tribal member and epidemiologist, Dr. Jill Jim offers a unique yet valuable approach in addressing the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 in tribal and rural communities,” Stacy A. Bohlen, CEO of the National Indian Health Board, said in an email Monday. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said that, having seen Jim’s leadership efforts this past year through the community’s local response to COVID-19, he is excited to see what she will do in her new, national position. He said his office has worked closely with the transition team “and we did recommend individuals to be a part of these boards and commissions.” “We recommended Dr. Jill Jim because of her great work in facilitating the federal partners as well as the local resources in combating COVID-19 here on the Navajo Nation,” Nez said. He said the Navajo Nation, like other tribal communities, has been hit hard by the pandemic. It imposed strict travel restrictions from March to August, when it was recording the highest numbers of COVID-19 per capita in the U.S., and implemented a three-week lockdown earlier in November to stop the spread. Nez said he hopes Jim’s involvement on the advisory board gives insight on the health concerns tribes and other communities face. “People of color have been hit hard because we have a high rate of diabetes, cardiovascular disease,” he said. “It’s not just about Native Americans, Dr. Jill Jim will be giving advice for but I think overall, those communities (of color).” For more stories from Cronkite News, visit cronkitenews.azpbs.org.
"We have to keep fighting COVID-19 together": Navajo Nation #COVID19 cases at 19,766 as of December 14, 2020. Two deaths bring total to 722, with 10,623 #Coronavirus recoveries on largest reservation in US.@NNPrezNez @NNVP_Lizer #Arizona #NewMexico #Utah https://t.co/ISxsDlE6Zc— indianz.com (@indianz) December 15, 2020
Note: This story originally appeared on Cronkite News. It is published via a Creative Commons license. Cronkite News is produced by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.
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