Diversity, equity and inclusion: the crucial connection for healthcare and aging is more than just a catchy title.
Keeping It REAL Caregiving and founder Julia Yarbough is incredibly proud to have been selected to take part in the inaugural cohort of the ASA Rise Fellowship program created by the American Society on Aging.
What is ASA Rise?
As the press release indicates, there are only a handful of professionals within the aging sector who have been selected for this honor.
Why is it important to focus on properly training a new wave and generation of leaders within the field of aging who are people of color and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and LGBTQ individuals?
It’s simple. Our nation is getting older. That means people of all colors, races, ethnicity, sexual preference and identification are also aging. In order to properly identify the many unique health, cultural and societal needs of often marginalized populations, the entire healthcare and aging sector must have individuals who also identify with all people.
Some might question, why now for such a program and why does it matter? I can tell you from personal experience, it matters because representation matters. If individuals seeking care rarely or never have service providers (health, housing, emergency response, counseling, etc.) who look like them, it is quite likely one can encounter care that is sub-standard.
As a family caregiver to my elderly mother, I often worried whether she would be treated fairly and with the dignity and respect deserved. All but one of her medical providers were Anglo. Given the tense, violent and racially-charged world we are currently inhabiting, how could I be assured that those charged with caring for my mother truly cared for her well-being?
And it is not just those seeking care. Also consider those trained to provide care. Your correspondent penned an article for Next Avenue highlighting instances of racism experienced by African American first responders. |You can read the article below:
The American Society on Aging describes the need for such a diversity, equity and inclusion training program as such:
The field of aging needs more leaders of color—and a modern, sustainable leadership program to support them. Aging in the United States has never been an equitable experience across the barriers of economic and social justice. Exacerbating this issue is the fact that those who can best drive the change we need are often the people who were raised, live and work in the communities most affected by these inequities. And so, much too often, the same inequities and lack of justice that require our response are those that prevent the most qualified people from having access to lead that response.
Keeping It REAL Caregiving is honored to take on this training role to enhance my understanding of the crucial roles diversity, equity and inclusion play in ensuring everyone – ALL AMERICANS – are treated with dignity, respect and kindness and receive proper healthcare and services as we age.