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States join forces to create pandemic preparedness task force

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The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine have joined forces to create the Carolinas Pandemic Preparedness Task Force.

The goal of the initiative, spurred by the public health and policy challenges created by COVID-19, is to provide both states with recommendations for a response to future disease outbreaks, according to a news release. The task force will be chaired by Harris Pastides, interim president of the University of South Carolina, and N.C. Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders.

The task force will examine lessons learned during the pandemic in areas related to health, education, and economic and social stability with a focus on equity and addressing the needs of historically marginalized and vulnerable populations. Members, led by steering committee representatives from both states, will develop evidence-based recommendations to support future state and local planning efforts.

Steering committee meetings are currently underway, according to the release, with full task force meetings to take place from July 2021 through April 2022. A final report from each state will be published in June 2022.

The initiative is receiving funding and support from the Duke Endowment, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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