President Elect Biden Appoints Navajo Nation Dr Jill Jim To COVID-19 Advisory Board

Dr Jill Jim is a proud member of the Navajo Nation with decades of experience in Western and Indigenous medicine

WASHINGTON – Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced new members of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board. The team of leading public health experts is helping President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and the transition prepare to implement a robust and aggressive response to contain the virus.

The COVID-19 Advisory Board is co-chaired by Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. The board is one component of the president-elect’s and transition’s consultations as they develop implementation plans for day one. In recent weeks, President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris have met with business leaders, labor leaders, essential health care workers and first responders, bipartisan governors and mayors.  

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

Dr Jill Jim, PhD, MPH, MPA, is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and the Executive Director at Navajo Nation Department of Health. Her career has focused on preventing chronic diseases and addressing healthcare and health disparities among American Indians/Alaska Natives.

For 18 years, she has served urban and tribal communities in non-profit, state, federal agencies and most recently tribal government, serving as a cabinet member for the Navajo Nation Nez-Lizer Administration. Her leadership has been essential to the COVID-19 response on the Navajo Nation, as the Navajo Department of Health is authorized to respond to the declared public health emergency. 

Dr. Jill Jim, a fluent Navajo speaker has a Doctorate in Public Health, a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration, a second Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Community Health Education from Northern Arizona University.

Some of her work experience includes serving as a Health Care Analyst for
HealthInsight in Albuquerque, N.M., consultant for Navajo Area Indian
Health Service, and Epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health.

Having a diverse group of advisory to the COVID-19 task force is import as the virus efficacies can be different among nationalities after infection. For centuries, Indigenous teachings and medicines have guided their communities and to have a Dr Jill apart of the COVID-19 advisory board, only further highlights the importance of Indigenous culture throughout North America.

Rounding out the task force are as follows”

Jane Hopkins, RNMH
Jane Hopkins, RNMH, trained as a nurse in England, specializing in mental health. Hopkins worked for over 20 years as a bedside nurse, most recently at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and Snoqualmie Hospital.

Hopkins was a bargaining team member before becoming an organizer, and later Executive Vice President, with SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. Hopkins serves on Washington State’s COVID task force and Safe Start Advisory Board, the Washington Workforce Board, and the boards of the 1199NW Training Fund and the Washington State Labor Council. She received the Black Lives Matter Award from the SEIU Washington State AFRAM Caucus. Born in Sierra Leone, Hopkins immigrated to the U.S. in 2000.

David Michaels, PhD, MPH 
David Michaels, PhD, MPH, is an epidemiologist and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University. He served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health from 2009 to January 2017, the longest serving administrator in OSHA’s history.

During the Clinton Administration, Dr. Michaels served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety, and Health, charged with protecting the workers, community, and environment around the nation’s nuclear weapons facilities. Much of his research focuses on protecting the integrity of the science underpinning public health, safety, and environmental protections.

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