IU Med School affiliate will fight racism as a ‘public health crisis’

Indiana University Health declared racism a “public health crisis.”

The hospital system will adopt new policies, such as more diverse hiring and more aggressive monitoring of discrimination.

Indiana University’s health system will fight racism as a “public health crisis.”

Along with two other hospital systems operating in Indianapolis, Indiana University Health announced that it would stand “against racism, injustice, and inaction.”

A joint statement explained that systemic racism in the healthcare industry can lead to lower outcomes among minority communities. Therefore, the three hospitals are “focused on improving access to care and eliminating racial biases that contribute to poor health outcomes.”

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All three hospitals are committed to reducing discrimination “among team members, patients and guests,” as well as reviewing policies that have inhibited “a diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist organization with measures of accountability.” 

Accordingly, it will increase the diversity of the staff.

IU Health and the other hospitals additionally promise to monitor the care it gives to underserved populations, as well as to identify and research racial disparities in healthcare access.

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Indiana University Health, according to its website, is the largest network of physicians in the state of Indiana, with dozens of facilities across the state staffed by more than 1,500 physicians. It is partnered with the Indiana University School of Medicine and gives more than $500 million annually to aid the Indiana community.

In a September blog post, IU Health blamed the higher COVID-19 death rate among African-Americans upon “racism and other forms of oppression — from societal levels all the way down to healthcare settings.” 

IU Health Community Outreach & Engagement Director Brenda Biggs said that the health system must “dismantle all the ways that these inequities have been created through decades.”

She also added that increasing equity must be “interwoven through all of the work, so when we’re looking at things, we’re making sure it is present for anything and everything.”

Campus Reform reached out to Indiana University School of Medicine for comment but did not receive a response.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft