Americans are celebrating Black History Month to recognize and pay tribute to the achievements and journeys of Black individuals who have contributed to the country.
This year's theme of "Black Health & Wellness" is timely, as Black communities have endured health care disparities, as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and other wellness and mental health issues, for far too long.
In this week's “In Focus SoCal,” host Tanya McRae sits down with two nursing professionals at Cedars-Sinai to discuss California's new law requiring nursing schools and programs to include implicit bias training in their curriculum, and hospitals to develop a new graduate training program.
"Conversations that I've heard, even walking down hallways is, they can't believe that some of the things that they believed or things that they were doing, were considered an unconscious bias, and that they did not mean to be offensive, and, you know, they were gonna pay closer, closer attention to those things," said Dr. Michelle Williams, Executive Director of the Nursing Department for Medical Services.
Cedars-Sinai is not only providing training to its nurses, but to all employees. Dr. Anita Girard, chief nursing officer and vice president of nursing at Cedars-Sinai, is also president of the American Nurses Association\California. She said the hospital established both a chief equity officer and a chief diversity & inclusion officer in 2019 to create the implicit bias training for the whole health care organization.
McRae also sits down with Rhonda Bolton, Huntington Beach's first Black City Council member. She worked in diversity consulting before being appointed to the City Council last summer.
"As I now start to make public policy myself, I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to our voters and fellow citizens who live here in Huntington Beach. And you know, one of the things that is important to me is to always try to see things from, you know, all different perspectives because short of that, how do you make the best decision that you can with the information that you have if you don't make an effort to see things from different perspectives?" said Bolton.
"In Focus SoCal" also pays tribute to Black Californians who have been trailblazers in their field, including Kris Larson, the LAFD's first Black female battalion chief.
Send us your thoughts at InFocusSoCal@charter.com and watch Sundays at 9 a.m.