The president of the Minnesota Nurses Association has been named to a Biden administration task force focused on health inequities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House on Wednesday announced the appointment of Mary Turner, who works as an intensive care unit nurse at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale.

The task force will develop recommendations on equitably allocating COVID-19 resources and relief funding to address the pandemic's disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.

"Shortly after COVID-19 was first identified in the United States, disparities in testing, cases, hospitalizations, and mortality began to emerge," the White House said in a statement. "These inequities were quickly evident by race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors."

Turner was part of a news conference on COVID-19 that then President-elect Joe Biden held in November, and has since had discussions with the task force chair, according to a statement from the Minnesota Nurses Association, a prominent union.

"I've seen how this pandemic has disproportionally hurt people in our community," Turner said in a statement. "At my hospital, we have a diverse patient population, and as nurses we can see what the data is telling us. More patients in our communities of color. More effects of the virus. We have to end this by fairly distributing our resources to everyone."

Christopher Snowbeck