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Committee passes urgent bill to diversify certain areas of health care – The Southland Journal

Committee adopts urgent bill to diversify certain areas of health (Washington, DC) – Today, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) And Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) Was passed by voice vote of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where Rush is a senior member. Rush Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (RH 3320) provide grants to colleges and universities to make physiotherapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, audiology and speech-language pathology programs more accessible to under-represented communities, including racial and ethnic minorities.

“Research has shown that often when patients and their healthcare providers share a cultural context, patients have better outcomes,” Rush said during Markup Today. “HR 3320 would increase diversity in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy, as well as speech therapy and audiology. The constant lack of diversity in these areas is a disservice to minority patients all over our country. This is why I am so proud to come up with this common sense solution, and I am delighted that we are considering it today.

A 2017 report from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) found that more than 77% of professionals in physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology are Caucasian, while less than 5% of these professionals are black and less than 7% are Hispanic. Many communities of color lack quality health care providers, making it difficult for patients to access appropriate and timely care.

“Studies have shown that when people from underserved areas enter a medical field, they are much more likely to serve in rural and underserved areas, stay there longer and have patients who join. better to medical advice. To rush continued, citing recent research. “This means that rural areas and other underserved areas benefit when programs recruit applicants from these areas. “

Last month, the health subcommittee held a hearing on the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act, where Dr Victoria Garcia Wilburn, a registered occupational therapist who grew up in Chicago, spoke about the importance of health legislation. Rush.

“Thinking about this legislation, I think how different my life would have been if the Allied Health Workforce Diversity program had existed when I started looking to become an occupational therapist,” said Garcia Wilburn. “I would have been offered a distinct path to my career, instead of spending countless hours navigating potential college majors as a first-generation student. I would have had better mental health, and maybe my academic performance would have been better with more support. “

HR 3320 is modeled on the success of Title VIII nursing workforce development programs. According to Dr. Garcia Wilburn, diversity in the nursing program has almost doubled since the passing of the Nursing Workforce Diversity Act in 1964.

“The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act would provide thousands of prospective respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology and audiology students with access to additional targeted supports beyond what I received, such as mentoring and tutoring. “said Garcia Wilburn. “Disadvantaged students and students from underrepresented communities bring a unique perspective to our health system and improve health outcomes. If we as a nation are to improve patient care and reduce health disparities, we must redouble our efforts to recruit, train and support these students. “

The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act is co-sponsored by 41 members of the House of Representatives. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) And Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Committee adopts urgent bill to diversify certain areas of health

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