In one of her first major actions since joining Congress last week, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux is marshaling health, government, education, housing and business leaders in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties to advise her on COVID-19-related needs and issues.
Bourdeaux is announcing the launch of her 18-member COVID-19 Advisory Task Force today. This group will offer Bourdeaux advice on legislative priorities when it comes to battling the COVID pandemic in areas ranging from vaccine distribution to how to safely re-open schools.
“As one of my first actions in Congress, I am assembling a COVID-19 task force of Georgians from a wide range of backgrounds so we can hit the ground running to get our arms around this deadly pandemic,” said Rep. Bourdeaux.
The task force includes Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Health Departments Director Dr. Audrey Arona; Eastside Medical Center CEO Trent Lind; Gwinnett Clinic Vice President Dr. Deep J. Shah; Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Nicole Love Hendrickson; Gwinnett County Commissioner Marlene Fosque; Gwinnett Chamber President Nick Masino; Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce President James McCoy; Lawrenceville Housing Authority Executive Director/Gwinnett Housing Corporation CEO Lejla Prljaca; Gwinnett County Board of Education member Everton Blair; Gwinnett County Public Schools Associate Superintendent for School improvement and Operations Steve Flynt; Gwinnett County Association of Educators President Brian Westlake; state Sen. Michelle Au; and state Reps. Sam Park, Jasmine Clark and Rebecca Mitchell.
Au, Clark and Mitchell each have training in medical or medical-related fields including anesthesiology, microbiology and epidemiology, respectively.
Other members of the task force include: Dr. Harry J. Heiman, who is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences at the Georgia State University’s School of Public Health; AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta principal investigator Dr. Melanie Thompson; and Wandy Taylor, who is a member of the Gwinnett County Public Library system’s Board of Directors and the Gwinnett County Board of Registration and Elections.
“As a country, we’re nearing the horrific milestone of 375,000 lives taken by this disease,” Bourdeaux said. “Georgia’s hospitals are at capacity, forcing patients to wait for care sitting in hallways while our exhausted health care workers scramble to treat them. It is my top priority to get COVID-19 under control, and I’m glad to have this task force working alongside me to address the urgent needs here in our district.”