Health care professionals march in Indy as part of ‘White Coats for Black Lives’

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INDIANAPOLIS — After spending months battling the coronavirus, doctors and nurses at Eskenazi Hospital and Riley Children Hospital for Children at IU Health are turning their attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. They are calling it “White Coats for Black Lives.”

Hundreds of medical professionals marched around the hospitals in protest Wednesday evening. In speeches before the march, doctors told their peers how they see inequities in health care. This can come as racial bias on a diagnosis, or an inability for their patients to have access to adequate and affordable health care.

“I think it’s a disparity pertaining to race. I think it’s a disparity pertaining to socioeconomic status things of that nature,” said pulmonologist Dr. Francesca Duncan before discussing her own patients. “Those patients are requiring oxygen, and they are literally walking two hours just to get to their clinic appointment, and that makes me feel sad.”

“We want equitable care for all of our patients, and that’s what we are looking for today,” said Dr. Miracle Anokwute.

Doctors we spoke with say their colleagues tend to be less diverse than they would like.

“A lot of medical schools are trying to focus on diversity as part of their entrance process,” said Dr. Roberto Swazo, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician. “Not necessarily giving more favoritism, but showing that we are striving to make that happen in our community, make the physicians look like the rest of the community.”

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