News Digest – Week of May 10, 2021
Found a fawn in your backyard? Leave it alone – its mother is likely close by.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2021
PHOTOS: Lt. Governor Gilchrist Receives Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine During First Stop of ‘Making Real Change’ Tour
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist received a second dose of the safe and effective Pfizer-BioNTech vacc
“I am proud to have received m
The ‘Making Real Change’ tour will highlight the administration’s continued efforts to flatten and eliminate racial disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on what the state has learned to apply those lessons to equitably administering vaccines; and what the state doing to build the resilience required to close racial disparities in health and other areas within communities.
The Making Real Change Tour will also make stops in Saginaw, Grand Rapids, and Detroit.
To date, the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities has focused on two goals: one to reduce the disparities in the mortality rate of COVID-19, and the second to connect those interventions to more extended term efforts. Additionally, this task force has worked to close the digital divide in telehealth and remote learning, launched a “Get Covered” campaign to make a coordinated push for every Michigander to sign up for health insurance, increased mobile testing infrastructure, which has transitioned seamlessly into vaccine administration and provided guidance to health care professionals on avoiding implicit bias.
The task force was created per Executive Order 2020-55, and acts in an advisory capacity to Governor Whitmer. It studies the causes of racial disparities and recommends actions to address the historical and systemic inequities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Attorney General Nessel Joins Series of Multistate Efforts
LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel continues to join attorneys general from around the nation in a number of multistate actions, including the following:
Letter Urging Congress to Pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021
On May 6, Nessel joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in urging Congress to pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. The legislation is aimed at combatting the high Black maternal mortality rate and increasing access to maternal and perinatal care.
The coalition is highlighting the need to advance health equity across the country for all racial and ethnic minorities – especially Black mothers. The coalition issued a letter yesterday to Congressional leadership calling on Congress to pass H.R. 959, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021. This legislative package addresses the social determinants of the Black maternal mortality crisis, including improving access to housing, transportation and nutrition services.
“Our nation has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, with significantly higher rates of mortality for Black mothers,” Nessel said. “Race based discrimination in our healthcare system cannot be tolerated, and I urge Congress to act now and pass the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act so that every mother and child has access to quality health care.”
The Momnibus Act is intended to help decrease maternal mortality among Black mothers, who die at a rate three to four times higher than white mothers. Similarly, Native American, Asian-American and Pacific Islander, and Hispanic women are more likely to face maternal mortality than white women and non-Hispanic women. Many risk factors contribute to increased rates of maternal mortality, including preexisting conditions, socioeconomic status, lack of health insurance, and implicit bias and discrimination in health care.
The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 addresses maternal mortality by ensuring women have access to equitable care at all stages of pregnancy. The legislative package is comprised of 12 bills that address the crisis through a multifaceted approach of increased grant funding, enhanced data collection and improving community programs. By specifically addressing the social determinants of health, the package aims to reduce maternal mortality by providing funding to community-based maternal health organizations; diversifying the perinatal workforce; supporting mothers and improving maternal health care for individuals with mental health conditions, substance abuse disorders, and those who are incarcerated; enhancing postpartum care; and promoting maternal health innovation such as telehealth, maternal vaccinations, and payment options from pregnancy through the postpartum period.
If passed, the policy changes would benefit individual state programs by increasing funding, furthering access to community supports and enhancing education services for mothers. More broadly, the legislation would assist state attorneys general in working to protect residents against race-based discrimination within the health care system.
Letter to Treasury Regarding Law Enforcement Access to Database
On May 6, Nessel joined the National Association of Attorney General (NAAG) in submitting comments to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, in response to its request for input regarding beneficial ownership information reporting and disclosure requirements.
Earlier this year, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was passed. The CTA requires certain companies to disclose their actual, or “beneficial,” owners to FinCEN. FinCEN will then maintain that ownership information in a database and disclose it to government agencies and financial institutions, subject to appropriate protocols. State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, including state attorneys general offices, must obtain court authorization to access this beneficial ownership data—a step not required for federal agencies.
In their letter, the attorneys general:
In 2020, 42 attorneys general supported the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act, which was similar to the CTA. However, unlike the CTA, the ILLICIT Cash Act placed federal and state enforcers on equal footing to obtain beneficial ownership information.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2021
CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov
MDHHS names Dr. Alexis Travis as senior deputy
LANSING, Mich. – Dr. Alexis Travis has been named the new senior deputy director for the Public Health Administration at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and will start on May 30.
Travis joined MDHHS in 2018 and most recently served as senior deputy director of MDHHS’s Aging & Adult Services Agency (AASA), where she provided statewide leadership, direction, and resources to support Michigan’s aging, adult services, and disability networks. In this role she advanced health equity for older adults and led efforts to address the need to expand the direct care workforce. She led AASA in Michigan to become the fifth state in the nation and first in the Midwest to join the World Health Organization and AARP age-friendly initiative. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Travis worked with the AASA team and the state’s aging network to launch many innovative programs to address food insecurity, social isolation and support risk mitigation in one of the highest risk populations of older adults in Michigan.
Prior to that to her work with AASA, Travis served as director of MDHHS’s Bureau of Health and Wellness within the Population Health Administration where she managed the Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Control and the Division of HIV and STD Programs. In that role, she collaborated with stakeholders to develop a state dementia plan and established a state-level public health workgroup on healthy aging, which she continues to lead.
As senior deputy director of public health, Travis will oversee the Bureau of Laboratories, Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health, Bureau of Health and Wellness, Bureau of Infectious Disease Prevention and the Bureau of EMS, Trauma, and Preparedness. She will work with local, state, and federal partners to develop and implement public health policies. Dr. Travis will continue to report to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who will continue in her role as chief deputy director of health and chief medical executive for MDHHS.
“Dr. Travis is a champion of public health and has driven measurable positive change in her time at MDHHS. She continues to be an integral asset in reducing health disparities and increasing health equity for Michiganders,” said MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel. “She is well-suited to develop strategies and programs to promote the health of Michiganders, and we’re excited to have her in this role.”
Travis holds a doctorate in public health from Walden University in Minnesota, a master’s degree of pharmacy with honors from the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and was a participant in the Socrates/Erasmus Student Exchange Program at the University of Salamanca in Spain. She is a graduate of the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts/Boston University School of Public Health Managing Effectively in Today’s Public Health Environment Class of 2017.