Diversity Magazine Southern Indiana June 2022 - Page 25

race that are affecting Southern Indiana and ways to solve them .
Aleman said that the data he has found in the community shows that people of color face high blood pressure , hypertension and untreated diabetes at higher rates than white people .
“ For us it ’ s not just saying ‘ Oh , we see this particular group of people with proportions of this disease or earlier death , but we look at how racism , and the structure of racism in particular , has an effect on that ,” he said .
Some professionals have tried to come up with methods to address the inequalities , but Aleman said that those that do not include a critical race framework don ’ t end up shifting health outcomes .
One way LifeSpring is looking to work within that framework is by completing a study looking at the way racial bias plays a role in the negative descriptors in health records .
A University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine study published in January found that Black patients were 2.5 times more likely to have at least one negative descriptor in their health record compared to white patients .
Some of these descriptors include “ resistant ,” “ non compliant ,” “ aggressive ,” and “ combative .”
The research suggests that having those negative descriptors of racial bias on the record can influence other providers who don ’ t share that implicit bias , Aleman said .
The study inspired the one being done at LifeSpring , looking at records from the last five years to analyze how the list of negative descriptors correspond with race .
Aleman also said that LifeSpring has developed an implicit bias training in the context of negative descriptors . The training is set to be deployed to 11 Indiana counties in August .
By understanding better how LifeSpring has seen this racial bias in play they can work to address it to prevent it from happening again . There will also be ongoing surveillance integrated in the LifeSpring system to look for these negative descriptors .
While it is important for people of color to not fear discrimination in a medical setting from white individuals , health professionals note that it is also important for them to interact with people that look like them .
At Olive Tree Resources , a New Albany counseling agency , Black and Hispanic individuals seek out help knowing they can receive mental health care from a person of color .
Chief steward officer of Olive Tree Resources , April Starks , said that two of their counselors at the agency are people of color , and it helps people to speak with someone they feel like can relate to them .
Pam Clark , director of Community Action of Southern Indiana , said that people seek out therapists that look like them because there has to be a trust there .
“ When we talk about looking for doctors , healthcare providers that look like us , that ’ s far and few and in between ,” Clark said .
The United States has a history of harming Black people through medical visits and studies , including forced sterilization of
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