Mayor Michelle Wu announced her COVID-19 Advisory Committee, a group of doctors, public health professionals and multidisciplinary leaders who will assist in decision-making around tackling new variants and working to end the pandemic in Boston. The Committee will be chaired by Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, who was elevated to a cabinet-level role under Mayor Wu. These leaders have backgrounds ranging from Medical Director at a large public hospital to restaurateur.
The full list is as follows:
Chair, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu
• Dr. Sabrina A. Assoumou, MD, Louis W. Sullivan Professor of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
• Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett, Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health
• Louis Elisa, President of the Garrison-Trotter Neighborhood Association, member of the Black Boston COVID-19 Coalition
• Paola García, Community Relations Manager, Tufts Health Plan
• Yvonne Garcia, Chief of Staff, State Street
• Temple Gill, Director of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Huntington Theater Company
• Nia Grace, co-founder, Boston Black Hospitality Coalition, owner of The Underground Cafe + Lounge and Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen
• Dr. Julia Koehler, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
• Amy Latimer, President, TD Garden
• Brian Moy, restauranteur and owner of Shōjō and Ruckus
• Dinanyili Paulino, Chief Operations Officer, La Colaborativa
• Dr. Cassandra Pierre, MD, MPH, MSc, Medical Director, Public Health Programs, Boston Medical Center
• Jake Sullivan, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs, Boston University
• Tony Tjan, Chairman and CoFounder, Miniluxe
• Reverend Liz Walker, Senior Pastor, Roxbury Presbyterian Church
• Dr. Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health.
• Dr. Joseph Betancourt, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President, Equity and Community Health at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I’m grateful to these leaders for their willingness to serve the public in this pivotal moment. We have both a responsibility and an opportunity to take on our biggest public health challenges, and take every action possible to protect our residents and end this pandemic. I look forward to working with and receiving the wisdom of this dedicated group,” said Mayor Michelle Wu.
“Boston is taking an aggressive, public health approach that will keep city residents safe, our children in school, and our local businesses open. The diverse makeup of this committee is yet another example of Mayor Wu’s commitment to ending the pandemic and addressing the significant health care inequities in our city. COVID-19 cases are surging here and across the country, making it a critically important time to get vaccines and boosters to as many people as possible, especially in communities where vaccine and booster rates are troublingly low. I am confident that Mayor Wu’s leadership and the insights of the Advisory Committee put us in a very strong position to end the COVID-19 pandemic in Boston,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission and Chair of the COVID-19 Advisory Committee.
The current data send a clear message to our city residents: get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested if you have symptoms, and continue to take precautions, such as wearing masks when indoors and while traveling, washing your hands, and limiting the size of holiday gatherings. There are currently 88,990 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Boston. Emergency department visits have increased by 6 percent over the past week, positive tests are up 15 percent over the last two weeks, and hospitalizations have increased by 28 percent during the last two weeks. New positive tests are up to 191.6 per day in the last week, above BPHC’s goal of 67.9 positive tests per week. Community based testing is also down by 23 percent in the last week. Getting tested continues to be very important, especially during the holiday season. There is reason for optimism however, as the number of booster doses administered increased by at least 15 percent over a one week period (82,173 to 94,274) and the proportion of fully vaccinated individuals has increased to 67.1 percent.
Racial disparities in vaccination and particularly booster rates in Boston remain a serious area of concern. Black residents account for only 13.4 percent of the boosters administered and Latinx residents account for just 9.4 percent. Similarly, over white children account for over 57 percent of vaccinations for children ages 5-11, as compared to 10.2 percent for Latinx children and 7.8 percent for Black children. Both Mayor Wu and the Boston Public Health Commission have made reducing these disparities a major priority in the City’s efforts to end the pandemic.