Head of University of Texas’ Hogg Foundation appointed to Biden’s COVID-19 equity task force

The Biden Administration announced the members of the Biden-Harris Administration COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force last week, one of which is Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas.

 

 

The task force is a result of an executive order signed by Biden on Jan. 21, which created the group and directed it to address “COVID-19-related social inequities.” These inequities include race, ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition to leading the Hogg Foundation, Martinez is a senior associate vice president of the University of Texas’ Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, clinical professor at the university’s School of Social Work and a professor at Dell Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

He expressed his gratitude and praised the administration’s recognition of equity’s importance when dealing with COVID-19.

“I can’t begin to describe what an exciting opportunity and honor it is to be named to this White House task force. Not only is it a credit to the Hogg Foundation and the University of Texas, but to the hard work of everyone who is committed to health equity and to making sure that health and mental health incorporate a health equity perspective. I applaud the Biden-Harris administration for recognizing this need at this crucial time.”  

The Hogg Foundation works to improve Texans’ mental health in a community-based, equitable way. The foundation has been vocal about the importance of health equity during the pandemic.

During his time at the foundation, Martinez has called for the Texas Department of State Health Services to create an Office of Health Equity. He also led the foundation’s declaration of racism as a mental health crisis.