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First Chief Health Equity and ADA officer announced at Indiana FSSA

Posted at 1:17 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 13:20:28-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Dr. Breanca Merritt has been named the first chief health equity and ADA officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Merritt, the founding director of the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy at IUPUI will start on Monday. She is also a clinical assistant professor at IUPUI's O'Neil School of Public and Environmental Affairs and adjunct faculty for the Africana Studies program.

“Dr. Merritt has a long history as an academic and practitioner with real-world experience working among marginalized populations to understand racial and ethnic disparities and encouraging policies that promote equity,” FSSA secretary Dr. Jennifer Sullivan said in a press release.

The position was created to "provide leadership in the evaluation of policy decisions that affect race equity, to build metrics for agency accountability, ensuring agency adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and to serve at the executive level working to build a culture of equity across the agency," a press release from FSSA read.

Merritt will report to the FSSA secretary and will also lead the agency's Office of Health Opportunities.

“My career has always been dedicated to informing government efforts to improve outcomes for local communities, especially the populations served by FSSA,” Merritt said in the release. “I look forward to working collectively to address racial and social equity for Hoosiers who receive services and interact with the agency.”

Merritt earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism, a master's degree in political science from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D in health promotion sciences from the University of Oklahoma's Hudson College of Public Health with a specialty in health disparities.

She lives in Indianapolis with her husband.