MN Nurses Association president selected to Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

Mary Turner is the only RN on the Task Force
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: President Joe Biden, center, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, right center, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, second from left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, right, tours the African Americans in Defense of our Nations Corridor at the Pentagon February 10, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden and Harris made their first trip to the Pentagon to deliver remarks and meet the nation's first Black Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Photo credit Photo by Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

Minnesota Nurses Association president Mary Turner has spent the last year on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic as a COVID ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale. On Wednesday, Turner was personally selected by President Joe Biden to serve as an adviser on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.

Turner told WCCO Radio's Dave Lee on Thursday morning that she has witnessed how COVID-19 has impacted cultures differently during the past year.

"We treat the sickest of the sick," Turner explained. "I've seen the evidence of people of different cultures that are some of our sickest people that I've seen in my ICU. We need to make sure all of our resources are being distributed correctly and equitably."

Turner, who was re-elected president of the MN Nurses Association in November, is the only RN on the advisory board.

"That boots on the ground perspective, that's what I can bring," Turner said. "I think that's what's often missed in policy making is what's actually going on, on the ground with people."

Workplace violence could be a topic that comes up during Turner's time on the Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. The discussion stems from Tuesday's shooting at the Allina Clinic in Buffalo that left a mother of two dead.

Turner said the topic of workplace violence came up during a Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation meeting on Wednesday evening.

"This is something the unions could rally around because healthcare isn't the only places of employment that have to deal with workplace violence," Turner said. "I feel for those at the Buffalo clinic. They're going to be afraid to go back to work. It just can't be like that. We all recognize this is a public health crisis. People shouldn't be afraid to go to work."

The 12 member Biden-Harris COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force was created when President Biden signed an executive order on January 21 creating a task force to address COVID-19 related health and social inequities.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Photo by Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images