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Gov. John Bel Edwards Announced Two Co-chairs and Appointed Members to the Louisiana COVID-19

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

“It is an honor to serve the citizens of Louisiana on the COVID-19 Health Equity Taskforce," said Co-Chair Dr. Sandra C. Brown, Dean of Southern University's College of Nursing and Allied Health. "I look forward to working with a distinguished diverse group of experts from across the state that are committed to addressing the health disparities that specifically challenge minorities and vulnerable populations in Louisiana not only in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in advancing health equity for decades to come."

"I am excited to be able to contribute to this important taskforce," said Co-Chair Dr. Thomas LaVeist, Dean of Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. "Louisiana has for many years been among the least healthy states and the racial disparities seen around the country are as evident here as it is elsewhere. I am particularly delighted that Governor Edwards has prioritized health equity and I am hopeful that we will be able to make a difference for our state."

The task force’s work will begin immediately, and its actions and research will result in improved health outcomes and equity in Louisiana. A statewide Health Equity Dashboard will be created to monitor the progress of the task force.

Louisiana COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force:

Sandra Brown, DNS, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE, ANEF, FAANP, FAAN (Co-Chair)

Southern University and A&M Baton Rouge

Dean and Professor, College of Nursing and Allied Health

Thomas LaVeist, Ph.D. (Co-Chair)

Tulane University

Weatherhead Presidential Chair in Health Equity, Dean of Public

Health and Tropical Medicine

Earl “Nupsius” Benjamin-Robinson, Dr.H.Sc.

Louisiana Department of Health- Office of Health Equity, Community Partnerships

Deputy Director

Takeisha Davis, M.D.

New Orleans East Hospital

Chief Executive Officer

Rebekah E. Gee, M.D.

LSU Health Care Services

Chief Executive Officer

Corey Hebert, M.D.

Dillard University

Chief Medical Officer / Assistant professor - Tulane and LSU

Theron J. Jackson

Morning Star Baptist Church


Raymond A. Jetson


Chief Executive Catalyst

Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D

Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Professor and Marie Edana Corcoran Endowed Chair in Pediatric Obesity and Diabetes/Assoc. Exec. Dir. for Population and Public Health Sciences, LSU

Kathleen B. Kennedy, Pharm.D.

Xavier University of Louisiana

Dean and Malcolm Ellington Professor of Health Disparities Research Endowed Professorship in the College of Pharmacy

Michael W. McClanahan


State President

Orlando McMeans, Ph.D.

Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center


Judy Reese Morse

Urban League of Louisiana

President and CEO

Demetrius Porche, DNS, PhD, APRN, ANEF, FACHE, FAANP, FAAN

LSUHSC School of Nursing – Dean and Professor

President, Louisiana Council of Administration of Nursing Education

Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.

Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group

Family Practice Physician

Gary M. Wiltz, M.D.

Teche Action Clinics

Chief Executive Officer

Sen. Regina Barrow

Louisiana State Senate

District 15

Rep. Dustin Miller

Louisiana House of Representatives

District 40

Task Force Subcommittees

Public and Regulatory Policy

(Provides input relative to policies and laws that impacts health disparities)

Deleso A. Alford, J.D., LL.M.

Southern University Law Center

Professor of Law

Damien Ejigiri, Ph.D.

Southern University and A&M College

Dean and Professor - Nelson Mandela School of Government and Social Sciences

Eric van Holm, Ph.D.

University of New Orleans

Assistant Professor, Political Science

Alma C. Stewart, R.N., M.S

Louisiana Center for Health Equity

President and Founder

Christopher J. Tyson, J.D.

LSU Law Center

Newman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law


(Provides input from the group that comprises the largest percentage of health professionals in the healthcare workforce)

Alicia Bates, PhD, NP-C, CDE

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University

Assistant Professor, FNP Program Director

Mary Meg Brown, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC

Grambling State University

Associate Dean and Professor - School of Nursing


LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing

Assistant Professor of Clinical Nursing

Director of NP Programs, Coordinator of AGACNP Concentration

Tavell L. Kindall, APRN, FNP-BC, DNP

Loyola University, Adjunct Instructor

St. Thomas Community Health Center

Nurse Practitioner and Director

HIV Prevention and Treatment Center

Cindy Schneider, MSN, RN

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University

Assistant Professor

Kathleen Tate, EdD, MSN, MBA

Associate Professor of Nursing, Northwestern State University

Jeanine S. Thomas, PhD, MSN, RN

Associate Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, South Louisiana Community College

Medical Community

(Provides significant contributions in the medical field relative to COVID-19)

Kristi L. Anderson, Ph.D.


Director, Graduate Medical Education

Raynando L. Banks, MD

Baton Rouge General Mayo Clinic Care Network

Family Medicine

Keith Ferdinand, MD

Tulane University

Gerald S. Berenson Chair in Preventative Cardiology

Robert Maupin, MD

LSUHC-New Orleans

Associate Dean of Diversity and Community Engagement

Health Disparities and Research

(Provides research and data regarding the disparities aligned with COVID-19)

Connie Arnold, Ph.D.

LSUHSC- Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer Center

Professor of Medicine

Terry C. Davis, Ph.D.

LSUHC-Shreveport/Feist-Weiller Cancer Center

Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics

Margarite Echevveri, Ph.D.

Xavier University

Educational Coordinator in Health Disparities, Cultural Competence and Diversity at the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education

Peter Fos, Ph.D.

Dillard University

Professor of Health and Wellness and Health Equity Researcher

Faye Grimsley, PhD, CIH, MSPH

Xavier University

Head, Department of Public Health

Dr. Amy Lesen

Dillard University

Associate Professor of Biology and Researcher

Rhoda Reddix, Ph.D.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University

Associate Professor, Director of Service Learning, specialization, health disparities: community engagement and service

Daniel Sarpong, Ph.D.

Xavier University

Director of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education, Endowed Chair of Health Disparities and Professor of Biostatistics in the College of Pharmacy

Lisa VanHoose, PT, PhD, MPH

University of Louisiana at Monroe

Associate Professor and Program Director in the Physical Therapy

Data and Analytics

(Provides expertise in the analysis of relevant data which will add to the work of the committee)

Ziad Ashkar, MD, MPH

University of Louisiana-Lafayette

Director - Louisiana Center for Health Innovation and Chair in Health Informatics

Jacqueline Harris, Ph.D.

Grambling State University

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Simone Rambotti, Ph.D.

Loyola University

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Community Outreach and Engagement

(Provides input on community outreach and extension activities, especially in lower socioeconomic parishes with high incidence rates)

Shelina Davis, MPH, MSW

Chief Executive Officer

Louisiana Public Health Institute

Tina B. Granger, MSW, LMSW

Nicholls State University

Sociology Program Coordinator / Instructor

Catherine G. Haywood


Louisiana Community Health Workers Outreach Network, Inc. (LACHON)

Rudy Macklin, BS

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

Bureau of Minority Health Access

Tiffany Netters

504HealthNet, Inc.

Executive Director

Dereck J. Rovaris Sr., Ph.D.

Louisiana State University

Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer

Taskforce Administration

Ray L. Belton, Ph.D.

Southern University System


Kim Hunter-Reed, Ph.D.

Louisiana Board of Regents


Kimberly Lewis Robinson, JD, MPA

Louisiana Department of Revenue


Katara Williams, Ph.D.

Southern University System

Chief of Staff

Adren Wilson, Ph.D.

Office of the Governor

Deputy Chief of Staff

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