First group starts hammering out racial inequality issues

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Early on in protests calling for racial equality and the end to injustices, Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton promised to appoint a commission to do just that.

Last week she named the members, broken down into five subcommittees to discuss and make recommendations for change in almost every segment of community life.

The first subcommittee — Health Disparities — met Monday to start discussing issues and mapping out a game plan.

The group of a dozen people is diverse and entrenched in the community, including registered nurses, community activists, mental health professionals and college professors and researchers who already have been looking at the issue.

And when the group began discussing issues with health care for African Americans, they had no shortage of subject matter, especially “cultural competency,” health care professionals who have little understanding of cultural differences and understandings.

Committee member Kacy Allen-Bryant, a nurse practitioner and lecturer at UK’s Nursing School, provided anecdotal examples from her own health care experiences and how she is treated differently before and after other health care professional realize she is also an expert.

“And that switch of the care that I receive of before and after it’s almost comical, the difference, the way that I am treated,” she said, drawing nods and almost ashamed laughs from others in the group.

Access, distrust, and finances also are roadblocks, the group said.

The group set three more meetings in July in hopes of meeting an August deadline of making recommendations to the overall committee and the city.

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