INDIANAPOLIS — Church leaders and health advocates from across Indianapolis have been working to come up with ways to better serve the health needs of minority communities.
“Doctors, as well as the rest of the medical community, have to take note,” said Rev. Dr. Myrtice Macon of Allen Chapel AME Church.
That’s the message from church leaders and health advocates across Indianapolis a part of this coalition, working to improve health and wellness within their communities.
Throughout the pandemic, church leaders recognized they needed to step in to help their congregations.
“Once the church doors reopen, we will even engage in mobile units to involve dental cleaning, AIDS testing, Covid testing,” Macon said.
But they also recognized that help was needed way before COVID-19 ever existed; highlighting disparities in the healthcare system, especially among minorities. One pastor shared a personal story about his niece during delivery.
“After the birth, she was bleeding and they had to call several times for the nurse or somebody to come to help her stop bleeding and there was no response,” said Rev. Philip K. James of Mt. Baptist Church.
“If a person has public assistance versus private assistance, there is also that as a factor of discrimination within the level of care that is received,” said Robin Nichols of Crossroads AME Church.
“These practices are real,” Macon said. “It’s not imagined.”
State Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, also joined in on the conversation to share what’s being introduced at the statehouse in light of the death of Dr. Susan Moore, who died of complications from COVID-19 and previously claimed she was mistreated and racially discriminated against while a patient at the hospital.
“I think that their deaths just put a more light on it and the needs for cultural training from our healthcare provider,” Shackleford said.
House Bill 1333 proposes the state department of health and the minority health department come up with a curriculum that healthcare providers will have to complete at least two hours of cultural training a year.
Additional free resource known as the Grassroots Maternal & Child Health Leaders (GMCHL) through Indiana University Fairbanks School of Medicine are working to advocate for and support women of color who are pregnant. You can find out more here.