The Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force today released its first biannual report outlining policy recommendations to address disparities in communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The policy recommendations delivered to Governor Roy Cooper focus on the Task Force’s five core areas including access to healthcare, economic opportunity and business development, educational opportunity, environmental justice and inclusion, and patient engagement.
“Inequities in North Carolina are not new, but the pandemic is shining a bright light on disparities in our health care and our economy. This task force has recommended ways to tackle these inequities and break through systemic barriers to quality healthcare and economic opportunities,” said Governor Cooper.
On November 18, members of the Task Force unanimously voted to approve recommendations with themes such as broadband access and telemedicine, Medicaid expansion, medical school pipelines, workforce development, improving digital literacy, support for federally qualified health centers, and more.
“The policy recommendations were developed by Task Force members with public input to help improve equity among underserved communities, particularly communities of color,” said NC Department of Administration Secretary Machelle Sanders. “It is our goal to create economic opportunity, eliminate health disparities, and achieve environmental justice for a better North Carolina.”
A recording of the November 18 convening can be found here.
In addition to policy recommendations, the biannual report includes subcommittee goals, accomplishments and plans for the upcoming 2021 year. A digital copy of the biannual report is available on the Andrea Harris Task Force website along with a fact sheet providing an overview of the Task Force’s 2020 policy recommendations. A few highlights of the report’s recommendations are as follows:
- Expand Medicaid
- Provide incentives to corporations to support the HUB Program and attain specific metrics for supplier diversity
- Advocate for the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a comprehensive budget that includes funding for HB 924, which provides for personal financial literacy for high school students
- Support the creation of environmental justice, equity, and inclusion positions across state agencies
Future plans for the Andrea Harris Task Force include developing a policy implementation plan, hosting public listening sessions, and continuing to work on long-term goals set by the subcommittees in August. This is the first of two reports that will be released by the Task Force. The second report is scheduled to be released June 1, 2021.
About the NC Department of Administration
Established in 1957, the Department of Administration acts as the business manager for North Carolina state government. Under the leadership of Secretary Machelle Sanders since appointed by Governor Roy Cooper in 2017, the department oversees Government Operations and advocacy programs. The department's advocacy programs provide advocacy, assistance and services to diverse segments of the state's population that have been traditionally underserved.
About the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force
Established under Executive Order No. 143, the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force (Andrea Harris Task Force) addresses the social, environmental, economic, and health disparities in communities of color disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. The Task Force is named in honor of the late civil rights activist, Andrea Harris, who dedicated her life to eliminating disparities in North Carolina, co-founding the non-profit Institute of Minority Economic Development in Durham and serving on the state’s Advisory Council for Historically Underutilized Businesses.