Newswise — Anjail Sharrief, MD, MPH, associate professor of neurology and director of stroke prevention for the Institute of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, recently was appointed to a citywide COVID-19 response task force.

Established by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the Health Equity Response (H.E.R.) Initiative and Task Force was launched in April 2020 as an intervention for vulnerable and at-risk populations to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Sharrief was not only appointed as a member but also as a co-chair of the group’s Medical Care Subcommittee.

The H.E.R. Task Force is addressing health inequities and access by accelerating the data-driven, targeted and rapid response for residents in 22 priority Super Neighborhoods, which include Acres Home, Denver Harbor, Eastex-Jensen, Fifth Ward, Gulfton, Independence Heights, Kashmere Gardens, Sunnyside, and Third Ward.

The group’s Medical Care Subcommittee is chaired by Dr. Kathy Flanagan, and Gaby (Gabriella) Rowe serves as the other co-chair.  The goal of the Medical Care Subcommittee is to provide information and health-related resources to the high-risk communities in Houston.

“We have supported testing drives and food distribution events in various communities,” Sharrief said. “We are working with, and engaging, community partners to identify the urgent medical needs in Houston’s diverse communities.”

Sharrief runs the Stroke Clinic and the Stroke Transitions Education and Prevention (STEP) Clinical Program that she founded in 2014. She is a UT Physicians neurologist.

Her research focuses on addressing health disparities and health outcomes in stroke survivors. She is also passionate about mentoring undergraduates, medical students, and residents to pursue academic careers in the neurosciences.

Graduating from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Sharrief completed her neurology residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, serving as chief resident from 2010 to 2011. She also holds a Masters of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.