A former Bronx councilwoman was named the top dog to lead the testing and tracing for COVID-19 this week.
On May 26, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Annabel Palma will serve as the chief equity officer of the city’s COVID-19 Test and Trace Corps. In her new role, Palma will fight the disparities of the COVID-19 crisis and lead engagement with communities disproportionately affected by the virus.
Palma currently handles homeless housing for the mayor.
“As we build a massive apparatus to test and trace every case of COVID-19, we are redoubling our efforts to help communities that have been hardest hit by the virus, ” de Blasio said.”Throughout her time as a council member and deputy commissioner, Annabel Palma has spent a career fighting for and representing our most vulnerable communities. In her role as chief equity officer, I am confident that same drive and commitment will shine through, building on our commitment to address the fatal consequences of racial disparities across our city.”
The Test and Trace Corps is the city’s new way to test and trace every case of COVID-19. In her new role, Palma will ensure equity is at the forefront of the Corps’ core operation and work with the Racial Inclusion and Equity Taskforce to monitor response and recovery efforts in these communities.
Palma’s experiences as a young, single mother, struggling to build a better life for her family helped define her approach to the New York City Council and make government more responsive to the needs of the community.
In 2003, she was elected to the New York City Council and dedicated her career to providing her community the voice they needed to fight for quality education, safer schools, good paying jobs, affordable housing, a cleaner environment and greater access to health care. She served District 18 for 14 years. During her tenure, Palma was instrumental in delivering tens of millions of dollars for projects, to renovate senior centers, public schools, youth centers and parks.
Through her efforts and support, four of the districts’ public libraries received funds that allowed them to open and operate a six-day-a-week program. Her advocacy also allowed her to champion funds to expand and modernize the Bronx institutions of higher education as well as the cultural institutions.
In 2018, she was appointed by de Blasio to serve as deputy commissioner of strategic initiatives in the Department of Social Services-HRA/DHS. She continues her advocacy and commitment to fight for the people of the Bronx and all of New York.