Navajo Nation health executive to serve on Joe Biden's coronavirus board

(Courtesy photo/Navajo Nation)

PHOENIX –President-elect has selected Navajo Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim to serve on the coronavirus advisory board.

Jim, who was appointed to serve as executive director of the Navajo Nation’s health department in January 2019, was recommended by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

“Dr. Jim’s extensive public health experience and expertise has been a major benefit for the Navajo Nation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and now she will serve on a much broader level to help fight this modern-day monster throughout the country,” Nez said in a press release on Saturday.

“Our Nation’s COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions put forth by our public health experts have served as a model for other states and entities across the country.”

Jim has been serving urban and tribal communities in nonprofit, state and federal agencies for 18 years, according to a press release by the Biden transition team.

“I look forward to working with fellow members of the advisory board to help prepare an urgent, robust and professional response to the global public health crisis, for President-elect Biden to lead with on day one,” Jim said in the release.

Appointed with Jim on Saturday is David Michaels, epidemiologist and professor of environmental and occupational health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and Jane Hopkins, who specializes in mental health and has 20 years as a bedside nurse in addition to serving on Washington State’s coronavirus task force.

“As COVID-19 surges across the country, I need a team advising me and a transition that offers diverse perspectives and viewpoints,” Biden said in the release.

“Ms. Hopkins, Dr. Jim and Dr. Michaels will strengthen the board’s work and help ensure that our COVID-19 planning will address inequities in health outcomes and the workforce.”

Biden’s coronavirus advisory board is co-chaired by former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Dr. David Kessler, former Surgeon General under the Obama administration Dr. Vivek Murthy and Yale University Dean Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, according to the release.

Nez in the release thanked Jim for her dedication and commitment to helping the Navajo people, adding Jim’s appointment could mean future opportunities for more members of the Navajo Nation.

“I am looking forward to supporting Dr. Jim’s role with the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Advisory Board and I am optimistic that the Biden-Harris transition team will continue to consider more members of the Navajo Nation for cabinet and high-level appointments as they assemble their administration,” Nez said.

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