Health equity continuing education may soon be a requirement
A bill is winding its way through the Washington State Legislature that if passed, will require each health profession, including veterinarians and veterinary technicians, to complete health equity education training at least once every four years. The goal of Senate Bill (SB) 5229 and the health equity courses is to teach skills that enable a health care professional to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities, varying in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, ability, and socioeconomic status.
Health outcomes are experienced differently by different people based on discrimination and bias by the health care system. Research shows that health care resources are distributed unevenly by intersectional categories including, but not limited to, race, gender, ability, status, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and geography. These inequities have permeated health care delivery, deepening adverse outcomes for marginalized communities. SB 5229 aims to equip health care workers with the skills to recognize and reduce these inequities in their daily work.
As healthcare professionals, the veterinary profession would gain a deeper understanding of clients, co-workers and their communities. Increasing acceptance of people and their unique differences and removing barriers to equity and inclusion will positively impact animal health as well as create better working environments.
The bill has passed out of the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee. But if you’d like to get started on your own, AVMA is offering the Brave Space Certificate Program, a 7-hour self-paced interactive course specifically designed for the veterinary profession. It’s free for AVMA members. For more information, visit the AVMA website.
Posted February 19, 2021