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Minnesota ICU nurse named to federal COVID-19 task force

Mary Turner works as an ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.

A Minnesota ICU nurse has been named to a Biden Administration task force meant to address disparities in the country’s COVID-19 response.

Mary Turner, a nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, was named to the 12-member COVID-19 Health Equity Task force, which the White House rolled out Wednesday.

According to the announcement, the task force is made up of members from a range of backgrounds, including healthcare workers, immigrants, union workers, people with disabilities and educators. Six federal agencies will also be represented on the task force.

The task force will make recommendations to the Biden-Harris administration on the allocation of COVID-19 relief funds, outreach to minority communities and improving cultural proficiency in the federal government. The group has also been asked to look into COVID-19 data collection shortfalls in communities of color.

The work of the task force will conclude with a final report on the drivers causing COVID-19 disparities and actions that can be taken to remedy them.

Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association, said she brings a union voice to the task force as well as a perspective from inside an ICU.

“I’ve been on the front lines all year because we treat the sickest of the sick,” Turner said Thursday on WCCO Radio. “I’ve seen the evidence that people of different cultures, they’re some of our sickest people. We need to make sure all of our resources are being distributed correctly and equitably. So from that boots on the ground perspective, that’s what I can bring.” 

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