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Indiana bill would require cultural awareness training for health care professionals

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — You might remember the face of Susan Moore, a local doctor who died of COVID-19 complications in December, after she claimed she was mistreated and delayed proper care because of her race.

Now, in the weeks following her death, there’s new legislation in the works at the Statehouse aimed at cultural awareness training for health care professionals.

Right now, there is a reckoning in the U.S. around race and culture. That extends into health care, too.

“There’s a lot of biases that come into the health care field that shouldn’t be there. But with this training, we are going to try to rectify some of those behaviors that exist between the doctor and the patient,” state Rep. Robin Shackleford, chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, explained to News 8.

That’s why Shackleford wrote a bill that would require all health care professionals to finish at least two hours of cultural diversity, awareness and competence training every year.

“I’m hoping people will learn about implicit bias and how to correct your implicit bias or how to deal with it. And also looking at different people, whether it’s their sexual orientation, their background. If they have a disability, if they speak a different language,” Shackleford said.

Before dying of COVID-19 in December, Indianapolis doctor Susan Moore, claimed she was mistreated and delayed proper care at a Carmel hospital because of her race.

“I was in so much pain from my neck. My neck hurt so bad,” Moore said in a video posted to social media before her passing.

Shackleford said Moore inspired the bill.

“I think the need for this got amplified with Dr. Susan Moore’s case. It just put a light on the disparities that exist and the problems that minority patients have in trying to communicate to their physicians, to their nurses,” Shackleford said.

Failure to comply with the required training would have consequences.

“If you don’t, you could have the possibility of not being certified. And if you’re trying to get a new job, the facility will require you to have the completion of the training,” Shackleford explained.

The training would be put together by Indiana’s Health Department and Indiana’s minority health coalition.

Shackleford told News 8 the training would cost $5 per person.