The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, convene governor-appointed health equity COVID-19 task force leaders throughout the nation. This case study is part of a series that will feature innovative state practices to address health equity in COVID-19 response across the country.
The Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force has paved the way to address COVID-19 related health inequities in the state, resulting in the reduction of COVID-19 related cases and mortality among Black residents. As a result of the work, the average number of new cases for Black residents dropped from 176 per million population per day in March 2020 to 59 per million population per day in October 2020, and disparities in case rates among Hispanic or Latino Michiganders also narrowed.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan Task Force through Executive Order 2020-55 in April 2020 to reduce health disparities within communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The Michigan Task Force, which serves as an advisory body within Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), investigates the causes of COVID-19 related racial disparities and recommends actions to report and combat them. Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist, the Michigan Task Force includes the Senior Advisor to the Governor, who serves as Director of the Task Force; the Director of MDHHS; the Chief Medical Executive; and 24 governor appointees. The Michigan Task Force has achieved positive results by investing in key strategies, which include establishing clear objectives with specific metrics, ensuring cross-sector collaboration and diversity within the task force, and allocating dedicated staffing and resources to implement recommendations focused on identifying and addressing systemic inequities.
This case study draws its key findings from the Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities’ Interim Report and other sources to explore Michigan’s approach, key features, results to date, and lessons learned.