City Hall Conference on Racial Equity in Health Care Scheduled for Marion

From staff report

West Marion Inc. will host a town hall meeting in Marion on health care equity and how it addresses ongoing issues of racism in the health care system.

Health Fair City Hall is called “What The Health!?” It will take place on Tuesday, May 23rd at 6pm at the Marion Community Building. Dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. According to the news release, this is the first part of a two-part series in which organizers hope the local community can come together to see changes in the healthcare system.

The sole purpose of Health Equity City Hall is to “work with structurally excluded communities and local health system leaders to reduce racial disparities in the quality of care available to communities of color. and develop inclusive care delivery models to promote health equity.”

In 2021, people were still afraid to meet in person. That’s why West Marion’s Health Equity Coordinator Cathy Ariora, her health equity coordinator, and her Health Equity Assistant Coordinator, Rubimar, decided to design a survey to hear real-world experiences from the community.

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A total of 142 people responded to the survey, and approximately 70% of those who responded to the survey identified themselves as people of color. Ariola and Ma provide survey data.

West Marion Inc. shares the history of systemic racism and discrimination in the North Carolina and U.S. health care systems, examines survey findings and local data collected on health care inequalities, and seeks to identify areas directly affected. Hold open and honest discussions with residents and healthcare providers. According to a news release, the leaders said:

Survey findings and field data on health inequalities were collected in the form of surveys at McDowell County events, online surveys through social media, and interviews with non-native English-speaking individuals.

“We will build relationships with structurally excluded communities and health care system leaders to name these challenges, identify areas for urgent improvement, and address black and brown patients and their families. We want to advocate for policy changes that create more culturally appropriate care,” the statement said.From West Marion Co., Ltd.

West Marion Inc. invited local health care providers and staff throughout McDowell County to City Hall. These include Mission McDowell Hospital, Blue Ridge Health Care Providers, School Nursing Staff, Emergency Medical System personnel, and Independent Clinic Providers. Additionally, according to a news release, members of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will share a message with all who attended the event.

“Join us in West Marion’s two-part ‘What the Health!?’ It’s a series that discusses changing healthcare systems and how we can work together to tackle it,” the statement reads.

The project is led by West Marion Inc and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). According to a news release, West Marion is committed to helping healthcare settings develop more culturally informed physical, mental, and behavioral health policies and practices to better serve people of color. It envisions supporting the grant so it can adopt an equity perspective.

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