Vermont hospital employees seek implicit bias training, racism acknowledgment

Thirty-nine employees at Rutland (Vt.) Regional Medical Center have signed a petition asking hospital leadership to require implicit bias training for all workers and take other steps to increase awareness about racial justice issues, according to the VTDigger.

The employees submitted the petition June 3. In addition to implicit bias training, the petition asks hospital leaders to raise a Black Lives Matter flag over the facility in solidarity with the movement against systemic racism — and issue a public statement acknowledging the presence of racism in healthcare, according to VTDigger.

The petition comes in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died Memorial Day in the custody of Minneapolis police. Mr. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, igniting protests against excessive police force worldwide. 

The petition was written by emergency room nurse Ryn Gluckman in collaboration with other hospital workers and the local NAACP chapter. And Rutland Regional Medical Center CEO Claudio Fort and Mike Solimano, chair of the board of directors, agreed to meet with petition organizers June 4.

In response to VTDigger's request for comment, hospital leaders wrote that "the events of the past week have inflicted much anger, heartache and despair upon our already wounded nation."

"They have exposed the effects of systemic racism in our society and institutions," they wrote. "As an organization that is committed to healing, we recognize that this is an opportunity to address racism in healthcare and the impact of health disparities on our community. The leadership of Rutland Regional Medical Center is committed to working to advance efforts to recognize and address unconscious bias and inequality in our organization and to eliminate health disparities in our community."


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