Ilitch School alumna appointed to task force studying disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color

Whitney Griffin photo

Whitney Griffin, a two-time Mike Ilitch School of Business alumna, has been appointed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which will examine the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color statewide.

Griffin, who is currently the director of marketing and communications for Downtown Detroit Partnership, received her bachelor’s of business administration in 2010 and her M.B.A. in 2016, both from Wayne State. She will serve on the task force alongside WSU President M. Roy Wilson and a host of other community leaders and activists.

The new coronavirus task force will be charged with increasing access to COVID-19 testing for vulnerable communities along with an array of other duties:

  • Increasing transparency in reporting data regarding the racial and ethnic impact of COVID-19
  • Removing barriers to accessing physical and mental health care
  • Reducing the impact of medical bias in testing and treatment
  • Mitigating environmental and infrastructure factors contributing to increased exposure during pandemics resulting in mortality
  • Developing and improving systems for supporting long-term economic recovery and physical and mental health care following a pandemic

In Michigan, African Americans make up less than 14% of the state population but account for about 33% of all COVID-19 cases and 40% of all deaths from the novel coronavirus.

“We know that generations of racial disparities and inequality has a detrimental impact on the lives of people across the state,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown this inequity to be particularly true, especially in the black community, where the health of our friends and family has been disproportionately impacted. That’s why we are taking immediate action to assemble some of the greatest minds to tackle this racial injustice now and in the future.”

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