Governor Laura Kelly kicked off the first COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Taskforce meeting on Wednesday to promote equitable vaccine distribution in vulnerable communities across Kansas. By engaging leaders across diverse organizations – including physicians, nurses, community organizers, faith leaders, and researchers — state and local public health can promote the importance of working together to vaccinate Kansans at highest risk for COVID-19.

Disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates are an urgent issue that must be addressed in Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “It’s an issue that affects communities large and small — urban and rural. The quicker we can get all Kansans vaccinated – the quicker we can get back to school, back to work and back to normal.”

The group is tasked with breaking down barriers about vaccinations, such as access, transportation, language barriers, or misinformation; and providing information and messages that resonate with Kansans who have questions about the vaccine.

The Kelly administration has been developing solutions to improve vaccination rates at high risk for COVID-19 – such as those working in the meat packing industry – as well as in socially vulnerable Hispanic, Black, and Native American communities. In collaboration with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, this effort is spearheaded by Dr. Marci Nielsen, Chief Adviser to the Governor for COVID-19 Coordination and Dr. Ximena Garcia, Special Adviser to the Governor for COVID-19 Vaccination Equity.

The launch of the Vaccine Equity Taskforce serves as another step toward vaccine equity.

Dr. Ximena Garcia will lead the equity Taskforce. To find the video of the first meeting please click here.

The Taskforce is comprised of the following individuals:

  • Allison DeGroff – Kansas HealthCare Collaborative
  • Andrea Perdomo-Morales – Vibrant Health
  • Annette Graham – Central Plains Area Agency on Aging
  • Broderick Crawford – NBC Community Development Corporation
  • Camille Childers – Wichita State University
  • Chris Howell – Office of Native American Affairs
  • Dan Leong – Immunize Kansas Coalition
  • Connie Satzler – Immunize Kansas Coalition
  • David Jordan – United Methodists Health Ministry Fund
  • Dorothy Hughes – University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Allen Greiner – Wyandotte County Health Officer
  • Shalaunda K. Gray – Interhab
  • Ed O’Malley – The Kansas Leadership Center
  • Edith Gaines – Shawnee County Health Department
  • Erica Andrade – El Centro
  • Jennifer Sutherlin – MARC
  • Joan Duwve – KDHE
  • John Carney – Center for Practical Bioethics
  • Judy Bellome – AARP
  • Kelly Sommers – Kansas State Nurse Association
  • Kenya Cox – Kansas African American Affairs Commission
  • Kristi Zukovich – Kansas Health Foundation
  • Kristina Simmons – Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Physician
  • Mang Sonna – Bethel Neighborhood Center
  • Mariana Ramirez – Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health
  • Martha Gabehart – Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns 
  • Nicole Garner – Unified Government Public Health Department
  • Paul Kruz – Wichita Police Department
  • Rachel Monger – LeadingAge Kansas
  • Tony Carter – Salem Missionary Baptist Church
  • Shannon Olsen – Kansas Office of Refugees
  • Tarah Remington – AAFP
  • Virgil Watson Jr. – South Kansas Medical Center
  • Audé Negrete – Kansas Hispanic-Latino American Affairs Commission
  • Bruce Chladny – Kansas Association of Counties
  • Chad Austin – Kansas Hospital Association
  • Melissa Rooker – Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund
  • Aaron Dunkel – Kansas Pharmacists Association
  • Alice Weingartner – Community Care Network of Kansas
  • Ernestor De La Rosa – Kansas Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity & Justice
  • Brad Neuenswander – Kansas Department of Education
  • Janis DeBoer – KDADS
  • Jerry Jones – Blue Cross Blue Shield of KC
  • Kate Watson – Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition
  • Michelle Ponce – Association of Community Mental Health Center
  • Rachelle Colombo – Kansas Medical Society