Matthew Boulton Appointed Member of Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities

Headshot of Matthew Boulton

Matthew Boulton, senior associate dean for Global Public Health and professor of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, has been appointed a member of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, created via executive order by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Monday, April 20. The task force, led by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, will study racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19 and recommend actions to address the reasons behind such disparities. 

“The disproportionately higher burden of COVID-related cases and deaths among persons of color in Michigan and elsewhere is yet another wake-up call for our healthcare system and our nation that it's time to get serious about addressing the inequalities and gross disparities in health that continue to plague our country,” Boulton said.

Recent data suggests that African Americans, who make up roughly 14 percent of Michingan’s population, account for 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the state. Experts are trying to understand what factors and influences impact these health outcomes, and the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities is charged with:

  • Recommending actions to increase transparency in reporting data regarding the racial and ethnic impact of COVID-19; remove barriers to accessing physical and mental health care; reduce the impact of medical bias in testing and treatment; mitigate environmental and infrastructure factors contributing to increased exposure during pandemics resulting in mortality; and develop and improve systems for supporting long-term economic recovery and physical and mental health care following a pandemic.
  • Identifying avenues of funding for combatting racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19.
  • Recommending changes in Michigan law relevant to combatting racial disparities in the impact of and response to pandemics.

Boulton has previously served as State Epidemiologist and ran the Bureau of Epidemiology in the Michigan Department of Community Health from 1998 to 2003. He also served as Chief Medical Executive for the state of Michigan from 2003 to 2004.