BOSTON, MA – The Healing ARC Campaign today released the first edition of its newsletter providing news and insights on strategies and interventions that seek to eliminate structural racism in patient care, including the Healing ARC framework.
“Our newsletters inform hospital administrators, public officials, community activists and others about the efforts to eliminate institutional racism in medicine,” says Dr. Bram Wispelwey, a co-developer of the Healing ARC framework. “We also provide comprehensive information about the Healing ARC application at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) that brings equity in the treatment of heart failure patients in the emergency room.”
Dr. Wispelwey, an Instructor in Medicine at BWH and Instructor at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, maintains that the Healing ARC addresses two antiracism goals by providing clinician education through acknowledgment of a racial inequity and providing a path of redress for patients of color.
One newsletter article details the journey of Cassandra “Cass” Georges, a 26-year-old UMass Amherst graduate, who helps implement a Healing ARC care model at BWH. In 2015 a study found that, on average, fewer Black and Hispanic heart failure patients were admitted to the specialty cardiology unit that improves patient outcomes. Subsequently, Dr. Wispelwey and other physicians developed a digital application that sends an alert reminding emergency room physicians that Blacks and Hispanic heart failure patients have been disproportionately sent to general admissions rather than cardiology when admitted to the hospital.
Georges organizes the “Wisdom Council,” a group of neighborhood leaders whose constituents are impacted by racism at the hospital. She connects her current work to her journey from foster care to ensuring that successful community engagement is a vital part of the Healing ARC and restorative health equity work.
“We are reaching out to community members so we can leverage their input and insights in the hospital’s decision making,” Georges says. “There are too many times when attempts to address health disparities are designed at the top of the bureaucracy and ignore community views and opinions. Historically, instead of going to harmed populations and including their thinking in the remedy, they are completely cut out of picture.”
Another newsletter article highlights the work of Dr. Manisha Sharma, a family medicine physician working at the juncture of patient care, community health, social justice, health policy, and innovation. In a lengthy interview with the Healing ARC Newsletter, Dr. Sharma says that racism can be rooted out of medicine and patient care.
“But first we must acknowledge it exists,” she says. “That is a first step, right? Acknowledge it. Cities and communities around the country are declaring that racism is a public health crisis. These narratives are really, really important. Once you name it, you can start to change it. We have had racism for 400 years in this country. That is what the country was built on. It has permeated into an array of institutions. Do I think we are moving the right direction? Yes. Because people are coming out and saying, ‘This happens to me, this is happening to me,’
“With technology and social media, people are seeing the things that are happening. The Black & Brown patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston that were not being admitted equally to the cardiology unit. Thanks to courageous professionals, like Drs. Michelle Morse, Bram Wispelwey, Michael Wilson, Regan Marsh and a whole team of folks, that is being directly challenged. They documented the structural racism in a study and developed The Healing ARC to address it. People know about the structural racism at the hospital; the hospital has acknowledged it and now The Healing ARC is fixing it. The bigger point is people are not ignoring racism anymore. Right? I hope that we can really, truly see racism uprooted in my lifetime. I am cautiously optimistic. We need to invest more into race-conscious interventions that are highly effective at rooting out racism.”
For more information read the entire newsletter HERE: https://healingarccampaign.com/healing-arc-newsletter-2/
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