Nevada Medical Professionals to Discuss Epidemic of Racism

Listening session announced to discuss experiences


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Shannon Litz
Public Information Officer, Director's Office
Las Vegas, NV - February 23, 2021

COVID-19 has exposed serious racial disparities in health care. For instance, national data indicates Black people are 10% less likely to be admitted to the hospital than white patients and are 1.2 times more likely to die in emergency care (National Library of Medicine).

Now, Nevada is taking steps to better understand the deadly implications of racism in health care. The Nevada Office of Minority and Health Equity (OMHE) is spearheading a new approach, starting with a listening session with minority health professionals in the coming weeks.

“This is a chance for those in the emotional crosshairs to share their lived experience,” said Tina Dortch, Program Manager with OMHE. “By hosting a listening session as our initial effort, we recognize this topic engages both the heart and head.”

The problem crosses all socio-economic statuses including medical professionals. This year, Dave Bell, a director of a county-level fire and rescue center in Missouri, was hospitalized with chest pains and passed away. Last year in Indiana Dr. Susan Moore, a family physician was hospitalized with COVID-19 and passed away. These cases of substandard medical care had race as a common factor.

“Cases like this are not uncommon and may be under-reported,” Dortch said. “We will shed light on these cases in Nevada with the listening session. Recognizing potential occurrences is one step towards addressing biased behaviors or policies.”

The Nevada Office of Minority Health and Equity is inviting medical professionals identifying as Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color (BIPOC) to the listening session to discuss experiences with racism in health care.

To participate in the listening session contact the Office of Minority Health and Equity Program Manager, Tina Dortch at tdortch@dhhs.nv.gov or 702-486-2151.

Attacking the problem of racism in Nevada gained momentum after Governor Steve Sisolak issued a Proclamation in 2020, declaring Racism, as a Public Health Crisis. Nevada is also the first in the nation to require licensed medical professionals statewide to complete cultural competency training and information from the scheduled listening sessions may be incorporated into the training in the future.

For more information about the Nevada Office of Minority and Health Equity go to dhhs.nv.gov/Programs/CHA/MH/