NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City Council legislation aims to tackle racial and gender equity in health care.
From patient care to employees’ experiences, councilmembers want to hold hospitals accountable, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Thursday.
“I trained at Harvard and at Montifiore and always wanted to do HIV primary care and, basically, just serve my community,” said Dr. Stella Safo, one of eight plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against Mount Sinai Health System.
Safo says she was called derogatory names and retaliated against for speaking up.
“What I experienced at Mount Sinai made me question if I was going to stay in medicine at all,” Safo said.
Similar stories of hostile work environments at hospitals across the city prompted the creation of new city council legislation.
One would require the Department of Health to create an advisory board to study racial and gender discrimination in hospitals and its impact on patient care and workplace conditions for the staff.
The second calls on New York State to require implicit bias training at medical schools.
Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal is a lead sponsor of both.
“Better health outcomes depend on rooting out systemic racism and misogyny in the health care system,” Rosenthal said.
The advisory council will be made up of more than one dozen members. While the group can only make recommendations, supporters say making their findings public will lead to changes.
“They do not want their dirty laundry aired,” said Dr. Natasha Anu Anandaraja, a pediatric physician. “But just the act of putting in place safe, independent reporting systems can create a whole shift.”
They hope an annual checkup will lead to more accountability and better outcomes for patients.
A spokesperson for Mount Sinai sent CBS2 the following statement:
The Mount Sinai Health System wholeheartedly agrees that discrimination and harassment does not belong in any workplace whatsoever.
They did not comment on the allegations made in the discrimination lawsuit.