Governor Whitmer Announces Appointments to Bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission 

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed new members to the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission. The appointees represent a diverse array of industries, professions, and backgrounds. Housed within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the commission will help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, educate the people of this state, and help protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents.   

Michigan is working around the clock to ramp up vaccinations and reach our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day, and with the help of the Protect Michigan Commission we can ensure everyone has a plan to get vaccinated once the opportunity becomes available to them,” said Governor Whitmer. “Thbipartisan members of this group will play a vital role in helping to reinforce the importance of everyone getting the safe and effective vaccine. I am confident that the members of this commission will rise to the occasion and help Michigan end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.” 

 “Our clearest path to healthy communities, a growing economy, and day-to-day activities free from fear is through the COVID-19 vaccine,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “As we continue to build up the largest vaccine program in our state’s history, we will be working alongside members of the Protect Michigan Commission to ensure that Michiganders in every part of our state, especially those with questions and those hardest hit during the pandemic, have a plan to get vaccinated. The best thing we can do right now is to work together to see all of our communities through to the other side of this pandemic.”   

 The governor has selected Kerry Ebersole Singh to lead the Protect Michigan Commission and assist in mobilizing the ongoing efforts of the commission.  

 “This is a critical time for Michigan, and as we ramp up vaccination efforts across the state I am confident that we can leverage the expertise of the commissioners to ensure everyone who wants a vaccinate can get one,” said Kerry Ebersole Singh. “I am honored to be a part of one of the largest commissions to date and I am ready to work together with the commission to meet the governor’s vaccination goals.” 

 The Protect Michigan Commissionformed in December, serves in an advisory capacity to Governor Whitmer and DHHS. The new members are tasked with providing public leadership to elevate and reinforce the importance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, identifying barriers that may impede the acceptance of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by Michigan residents, which includes identifying areas or groups within this state that are likely to experience vaccine hesitancy, and develop an outreach action plan designed to overcome these barriers. The Commission must complete its work and submit a brief final report to the governor by December 31, 2021. Appointees will serve until the dissolution of the Commission.  

 The Commission is co-chaired by: 

  • Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II 
  • Dr. Joneigh KhaldunM.D.Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health 
  • Blake GriffinDetroit Pistons 
  • Former Lt. Gov. Brian N. CalleySmall Business Association of Michigan 
  • Eva A. Garza DewaelscheSER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. 
  • Tina Freese-Decker, Spectrum Health 
  • Jamie Brown, Michigan Nurses Association 
  • Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D.Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative 


The Commission will establish advisory workgroups to assist the Commission in performing its duties and responsibilities. The following individuals will serve as Chairs for the advisory workgroups: 

  • Business Leaders workgroupDolf Van AmersfoortStellantis 
  • Seniors workgroup: Dr. Brenda Surae Eaton, M.D.AARP  
  • Youth (16-30) workgroupDondre YoungCommunity Foundation of Greater Flint 
  • Rural workgroup: Chuck LippstreuMichigan Agri-Business Association 
  • Latinx workgroup: Eva A. Garza DewaelscheSER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. 
  • Asian Pacific American workgroup: Dr. S. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D., Michigan State Medical Society and American Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health 
  • African American workgroup: Rev. Charles E. Williams, IIHistoric King Solomon Baptist Church 
  • Middle Eastern workgroup: Dr. Zafer I. Obeid, M.D., Arab American & Chaldean Council 
  • Local Government workgroup: Dr. Deirdre Waterman, M.D.City of Pontiac 
  • Disability workgroup: Tim HilemanSpecial Olympics Michigan 
  • Faith workgroup: Lea A. LugerYad Ezra 
  • Labor and Workforce workgroup: Mike ShoudyMichigan Education Association 
  • Health Leaders workgroup: Melissa A. Holmquist, Upper Peninsula Health Plan 
  • Education workgroup: Kristen McDonald Rivet, Michigan Future, Inc. and city of Bay City 
  • Tribal workgroup: Sadie ValliereLac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian 
  • Women and Children workgroup: Denise L. SmithHope Starts Here Detroit 


In addition, the governor appointed the following people to the Protect Michigan Commission:  

  • Aamina AhmedRising Voices of Asian American Families and New American Leaders 
  • Dr. Colleen Allen, Ph.D., Autism Alliance of Michigan  
  • Suzanne Miller AllenBlue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan 
  • Sandy BaruahDetroit Regional Chamber 
  • Najah BazzyMichigan Muslim Community Council 
  • Mark Behnke, City of Battle Creek 
  • Amber BellazaireMichigan League for Public Policy 
  • Evan BonsallCity of Marquette 
  • Dr. Nirali Bora, M.D.Kent County Health Department 
  • April BowenPlanned Parenthood of Michigan 
  • Hodari BrownNational Business League Detroit Chapter  
  • Laurel BurchfieldMichigan Coalition Against Homelessness 
  • Robyn Burlingham, Tribal Council for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi 
  • Anna BybergNational Association of Social Workers 
  • Kyle CaldwellCouncil of Michigan Foundations 
  • Chong-Anna CanforaMichigan Community Action Association 
  • Jim Carruthers, City of Traverse City 
  • Carlo L. CastiglionePlumbers Union Local 98 
  • Guillermo CisnerosWest Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 
  • Steve CurrieMichigan Association of Counties 
  • Derek J. DobiesMichigan AFL-CIO and City of Jackson 
  • Jeff DonofrioBusiness Leaders for Michigan 
  • John E. DuckworthBaptist Council of Michigan 
  • Dr. Brenda Surae Eaton, M.D.AARP  
  • Karla FalesCareWell Services Southwest, the Region 3B Area Agency on Aging in Barry and Calhoun Counties 
  • Jennifer FiedlerMichigan Townships Association 
  • Diane N. FleserDisability Network of Michigan 
  • Steve Grigorian, Detroit Economic Club 
  • Kate GuzmanOakland County  
  • Ken L. Haney, Jr.SEIU Healthcare Michigan 
  • Dan Hurley, Michigan Association of State Universities 
  • Farah JalloulMichigan Pharmacists Association 
  • Dr. Tina Kerr, Ph.D.Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators 
  • Erin KnottEquality Michigan  
  • Kelley J. KuhnMichigan Nonprofit Association 
  • John P. LaMacchia, Michigan Municipal League 
  • Mike LarsonMichigan Association of United Ways 
  • Laura LeBlancVolunteers of America Michigan 
  • Robert LeFevreMichigan Independent Colleges & Universities 
  • Chuck LippstreuMichigan Agri-Business Association 
  • Dr. Matt M. Longjohn, M.D.Western Michigan University Stryker School of Medicine 
  • Dr. Felipe Lopez Sustaita, Ed.D.Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan 
  • Jimena LoveluckWashtenaw County 
  • Mark MillerJewish Federation of Michigan 
  • Joseph P. MurrayCity of Dearborn 
  • Bill NowlingWayne County 
  • Dr. Zafer I. Obeid, M.D., Arab American & Chaldean Council 
  • Jacqueline OuvryState of Michigan State Appellate Defender Office 
  • Dominick J. PalloneMichigan Association of Health Plans 
  • Soumit Pendharkar, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians 
  • Dr. Delicia J. Pruitt, M.D.Saginaw County Health Department 
  • Rico RazoCity of Detroit  
  • Dr. Lawrence A. Reynolds, M.D.City of Flint 
  • Melissa K. SamuelHealth Care Association of Michigan 
  • Erin SchorMichigan Community College Association 
  • Mike Shoudy, Michigan Education Association 
  • Dr. Constance B. Simon, Ed.D.NAACP 
  • Dorian SlaybodFarmworker Legal Services 
  • Cindy SpurlockAFSCME 
  • Richard K. StudleyMichigan Chamber of Commerce 
  • Ruthanne K. SudderthMichigan Health & Hospital Association 
  • Madiha TariqACCESS  
  • Jeremy TrippMichigan Public Employees SEIU Local 517M 
  • Linda VailIngham County Health Department 
  • Sadie ValliereLac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indian 
  • John J. WalshMichigan Manufacturers Association 
  • Dr. Sook Wilkinson, Ph.D.Council of Asian Pacific Americans of Michigan 
  • Vicki WolberMacomb County 
  • Rev. Dr. Jimmy Womack, M.D.Plymouth United Church of Christ 

 The Commission will include the following members of the Legislature: Sen. Winnie Brinks nominated by the Senate Minority LeaderSen. Curt VanderWall nominated by the Senate Majority Leader, Rep. Felicia Brabec nominated by the House Minority Leader, and Rep. John Roth nominated by the Speaker of the House.  

 Appointments to the Protect Michigan Commission are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.