Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced that she had appointed 13 health industry and medical professionals to the Michigan Nursing Home COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force.
In addition to the 13 members appointed by Whitmer, the task force also includes Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon or his designee, Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Orlene Hawks or her designee, Michigan State Long Term Care Ombudsman Salli Pung, State Sens. Rosemary Bayer (D-12-Oakland) and Curt VanderWall (R-35-Benzie) and State Reps. Leslie Love (D-10- Redford) and Hank Vaupel (R-47-Livingston).
The task force was created in June to create a plan for “any future wave of COVID-19 cases by developing an action plan based on timely and high-quality data,” according to the executive order creating the task force. The group has to give a recommendation to the governor by August 31.
“We have taken great strides here in Michigan to protect families from the spread of COVID-19, but we must stay engaged and continue to protect our most vulnerable Michiganders and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These appointees have the knowledge and professional backgrounds that will help our state protect more nursing home residents and staff in the case of a second wave.”
The task force includes David Herbel, the president and CEO of LeadingAge Michigan; Dr. Betty Chu, the senior vice president and associate chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System; Alison Hirschel, the director and managing attorney for the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative; and Mia Moore, a certified nurse assistant with the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility in Mount Clemens, among others.
The governor has been widely criticized for policies that allowed people confirmed to have the coronavirus to stay in nursing homes, a move they say allowed the virus to spread to a more vulnerable population. The state began releasing data about the virus in nursing homes in June.
Read the full list of appointed task force members below, as provided by Michigan:
Trece Andrews, of Detroit, is a caregiver for Regency at St. Clair Shores, where she has worked since 2010. She is also a member of SEIU Healthcare of Michigan and attended Wayne County Community College.
Renee L. Beniak, of Fowlerville, is the executive director of the Michigan County Medical Care Facilities Council. She holds an Associate in Applied Science in Registered Nursing from Schoolcraft College and a Master of Arts in Social Science from Eastern Michigan University.
Betty Chu, M.D., of Birmingham, is the senior vice president and associate chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System and the chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs for the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Dr. Chu earned her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Michigan Medical School. She also holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Michigan. The Governor has designated Dr. Chu to serve as Co-Chair of the Task Force.
Ann M. Hepfer, of Mayville, is the health officer for the Huron and Tuscola County Health Departments. She earned her associate degree in nursing from Kirkland Community College and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Central Michigan University.
David E. Herbel, of East Lansing, is the president and CEO of LeadingAge Michigan. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and management from Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Ferris State University.
Alison E. Hirschel, of East Lansing, is the director and managing attorney for the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative, an elder law attorney for the Michigan Poverty Law Program, and a lecturer for the University of Michigan Law School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School.
Steven M. Kastner, of Plymouth, is the president and CEO of Trinity Health Senior Communities. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Manchester University and a Master of Science in Administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Preeti N. Malani, M.D., of Ann Arbor, is the chief health officer at the University of Michigan where she is also a professor and faculty member, medical director of MHealthy, and director of the National Poll on Healthy Aging. Dr. Malani received her Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University School of Medicine. She also holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Science in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis from the University of Michigan.
Hari “Roger” Mali, II, of Bingham Farms, is the owner and CEO of Mission Management Services, LLC in Troy, where they specialize in skilled nursing care and senior housing management. He received his Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School and his Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Bowdoin College. The Governor has designated Mr. Mali to serve as Co-Chair of the Task Force.
Mia K. Moore, of Clinton Township, Moore is a certified nurse assistant with the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility in Mount Clemens. She is CPR and first-aid certified and attended the Detroit Job Corps Center.
Melissa K. Samuel, of Lansing, is the president and CEO for the Health Care Association of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunication with an emphasis in Political Science from Michigan State University.
Kari L. Sederburg, of East Lansing, is the director of healthy aging for the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and public relations from Ferris State University and a Master of Public Administration from Ohio University.
Melissa Seifert, of DeWitt, is the associate director for government affairs for AARP of Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government and a Master of Public Administration from Central Michigan University.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Ohio National Guard Helping Out at Nursing Home” by The National Guard. CC BY 2.0.