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Oregon Health Authority recruits OHSU experts for COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee

Group to help develop statewide vaccine distribution plan with focus on health equity
OHSU Hospital
Three OHSU members appointed to the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee will provide guidance on Oregon's vaccine distribution plan. (OHSU)

The Oregon Health Authority has named Oregon Health & Science University members Derick Du Vivier, M.D., M.B.A., Kelly Gonzales, Ph.D., M.P.H., B.S., and Kalani Raphael, M.D., to its COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, which will provide guidance on vaccine sequencing for phases 1b, 1c and 2 of the state’s vaccine distribution plan.

“COVID-19 has intensified the disproportionately adverse public health impacts that have long harmed groups including tribal communities, communities of color, aging adults and those of lower socioeconomic status,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “OHSU is proud of the shared strengths these faculty offer, and will provide to such an essential committee that will help ensure that the people of Oregon, especially those who are disproportionately affected, are vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

The committee, whose goal is to advance health equity and counter unjust COVID-19 inequities, will:

  • Advise OHA on the ethical principles that should guide decisions on sequencing of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Review data on COVID-19 and immunization inequities.
  • Advise OHA on which workers, high-risk groups or critical populations should be sequenced at what time, taking into consideration where they are located across the state.
Close-cropped headshot of Derick Du Vivier, a smiling man with grey hair
Derick Du Vivier, M.D., M.B.A. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Du Vivier serves as co-chair of the Oregon Health Equity Committee, which is responsible for reviewing health policy and leading efforts to develop best practice policies that improve health equity in Oregon. He was named senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at OHSU in September 2020. In this role, he provides executive leadership and vision in the administration of services, policies and procedures related to institutional diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as OHSU’s efforts to address structural racism. Du Vivier also is an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

Head and shoulders shot of Kelly Gonzales, a dark-haired Cherokee woman, with the wall of a classroom behind her
Kelly Gonzales, Ph.D., M.P.H., B.S.

Gonzales, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and advocate of the Portland Urban Native community, is a tenured associate professor in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. She teaches public health students through anti-racist and decolonizing praxis, which addresses gaps in current systems of public health by giving focus to colonialism as a primary determinant of health, and centering on Indigenous values, ancestral wisdom, and self-determination as a pathway for Indigenous health equity. All of her work uses healing justice and Indigenous resistanceframeworks, to promote systems change that can be evidenced through seeing and meeting the needs of Native people through the tools of public health, including the health data, policies, programs, and education. Gonzales was one of the first Native scholars to build a body of science and scholarship into associations of racism and health, with emphasis on American Indian and Native American populations with regard to diabetes, health care engagement, and retention in health interventions. Currently, she offer council to OHSU and PSU leadership, faculty and students, and County and Statewide public health leaders on decolonizing and Indigenizing health equity.  

headshot of Kalani Raphael, a smiling, balding Hawaiian male in a white lab coat
Kalani Raphael, M.D. (OHSU)

A Native Hawaiian, Raphael is passionate about health equity for members of the Pacific Islander community, which has some of the highest rates of COVID-19 in Oregon and across the U.S. He serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Oregon Pacific Islander Coalition, or OPIC, a consortium of community-based organizations that support Pacific Islanders in Oregon and Southwest Washington.  Additionally, Raphael is an associate professor of nephrology and hypertension in the OHSU School of Medicine and the Portland VA Medical Center. He is internationally recognized as a leader in the area of acid-base balance in chronic kidney disease.

The committee held its first public meeting Thursday, Jan. 7. Additional information is available here.

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