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Group training health care staff on unconscious bias, how to advance health equity

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Posted at 2:47 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 14:47:02-04

The pandemic has made health inequities and bias in health care even more obvious. Now, there's a group working to change that.

Impact4Health trains health care staff on unconscious bias and how to advance health equity. They can also assess where a health organization stands.

“A strategy that you can use to look at processes to serve your diverse populations, how you recruit diverse staff to work with those populations, how you actually work and partner with community organizations to serve vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Maria Hernandez, PhD, President and COO of Impact4Health.

This is something Impact4Health started before the pandemic, when issues like higher death rates among new mothers of color were really starting to come to light.

Impact4Health uses tennis star Serena Williams’ experience as an example. She shared how her health concerns after giving birth weren't taken seriously. It turns out, she had a blood clot.

“And I often say to staff and during training, you know, if you're Serena Williams and you cannot be heard, can you imagine what it's like for the average Black woman going through this for the very first time, anxious and afraid and concerned for her health and the well-being of her child,” said Hernandez.

California now requires implicit bias training among doctors.

Meanwhile, Impact4Health’s president says patients can protect themselves by bringing an advocate to appointments.

“And what that can do is, as you start speaking with your physician about what you need if you really feel anxious, or that they didn't quite understand or didn't hear you, there's someone there who can say, ‘excuse me, I heard my friend say this’ or ‘here's what I’m going through, watching what they're experiencing, and they really need this help,’” said Hernandez.

Impact4Health is based out of California, but their training is available anywhere.