IBLC applauds IU Health external panel recommendation of cultural competence, implicit bias training

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC) today issued a statement following the release of the report on IU Health's external investigation into the treatment of Dr. Susan Moore, whose death raised questions about racial bias within Indiana's health care system.

In a statement, IU Health CEO Dennis Murphy announced that the external review concluded that the medical treatment provided to Dr. Moore did not contribute to her death, but that she was not treated with empathy or compassion. The statement also notes a lack of cultural competence by Dr. Moore's providers and a lack of awareness of implicit racial bias in Dr. Moore's caregivers.

“The IBLC is disheartened with these findings,” IBLC Chair, State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), said. “Everyone deserves to be cared for with compassion and respect.

“These recommendations reaffirm what the IBLC has been advocating for and what the Indiana Minority Health Disparities Task Force recommended in 2020: Indiana's health care professionals need cultural awareness and implicit racial bias training.”

This past session, Shackleford introduced House Bill 1333, which would have addressed this issue by: establishing a cultural awareness and competence training program for health care professionals; requiring health care professional to complete two hours of cultural awareness and competence training and imposing a penalty for noncompliance; and requiring the state health data center to maintain statistics concerning race and ethnicity, sex, primary language and disability status (whereas current law only requires statistics on gender and ethnicity).

“Even though this bill was not given a hearing and not selected as an interim study topic, the IBLC will continue to work on this vital legislation with the Indiana State Health Department, health care facilities and community leaders over the summer,” Shackleford added. “Black and brown lives depend on it.

“It is distressing to know that Dr. Moore's treatment could have been more positive if IU Health had realized this need sooner.

“With that in mind, we are hopeful that Dr. Moore's death will not be in vain, but will bring about change to a culturally insensitive health care system. We applaud the external review panel for their thoughtful recommendations that could not only change IU Health, but we believe could change the culture of health care in Indiana for years to come. The IBLC urges IU Health to implement these recommendations as soon as possible to ensure all Hoosiers who turn to them for help will receive equitable, live-saving care.”

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