INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The death of an Indianapolis doctor could help advance new legislation. Dr Susan Moore died almost a year ago from complications from COVID-19 – and it’s an experience State Representative Robin Shackleford says many blacks and minorities know all too well good.

Shackleford introduced a bill calling for cultural skills training for healthcare workers earlier this year, but it has not taken off. However, lawmakers across the country have agreed to add it as an amendment to his directive to Congress – Addressing health workforce shortages to help rural and underserved populations.

It’s hard to forget the video of Moore explaining her experience in hospital days before she died of complications from COVID-19 in December 2020. In the video, she claims medical staff ignored her calls for help .

“I think Dr. Susan Morris’s case was just the impetus that brought it all together. Watching her suffer in the hospital. Seeing her mistreated by her own colleagues. I said it was the ultimate – we have to do something, ”Shackleford said.

It was this video and this story that pushed her to take action. In January 2021, she introduced a bill calling on health professionals to undergo cultural awareness training. Lawmakers never heard from her, so she filed for a study.

“It was denied there, so we didn’t study it. So in my head I started to think about… how to build allies, ”she said.

Eventually, she wrote a resolution to the National Caucus of State Legislators. The NCSL did not approve the resolution, but voted to add it to its congressional recommendation to improve medical services in rural and underserved communities.

“Cultural competence is something that IMC has fought for and pushed for and has been in the trenches for years now,” said Tony Gillespie of the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.

He said it was a good step in a long struggle, and that more and more people are realizing the value and need for cultural competence in medicine.

“It’s tragic,” he said, referring to Moore’s death. “But I think it’s forever – it will be the test case that we stand for and say that cultural competence is no longer a luxury. It must happen.

Representative Shackleford said she plans to reintroduce the legislation in January and said advocating for the public would be important in trying to get things done.


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