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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01)

Albuquerque, N.M. – Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) is pushing for two bills aimed at reducing disparities in COVID-19 response efforts. The bills specifically aim to address existing institutional, economic, and environmental racism that have plagued our nation and manifest in disproportionate pandemic impacts on communities of color.

The COVID-19 Bias and Anti-Racism Training Act of 2020 and the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act of 2020 will implement racial justice reforms to improve public health systems. These bills will fund and help provide anti-racist health initiatives, so black and brown communities will receive the healthcare they need. By funding bias and anti-racism training and programs, these bills will also work to address gaps in the healthcare system for urban Native Americans and Tribal organizations.

“Everyone, no matter their background, deserves access to health care, but this pandemic has put a spotlight on the Communities of color and Tribal communities seeing some of the worst of this pandemic. I’m proud to co-sponsor these bills, which will make sure BIPOC families don’t face the same disparities they are now. Even though it won’t immediately fix all the problems our communities are facing, it’ll make sure we make significant progress,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus

Through the COVID-19 Bias and Anti-Racism Training Act of 2020, grants are awarded to health care providers, public health departments, tribal organizations, schools for social workers and health professionals, and other nonprofit entities. In administering these grants, HHS must give priority to, among others, recipients in communities with racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and death rates. In addition, HHS must develop requirements for bias and anti-racism training that aligns with continuing education requirements of applicable state licensing bodies, such as medical boards.

The Anti-Racism in Public Health Act of 2020 aligns with the same goals listed above by requiring the federal government to actively develop anti-racist health policies. This would be achieved by creating a National Center for Anti-Racism at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), establishing a Law Enforcement Violence Prevention Program within the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC, and actively addressing structural racism and public health.

These two bills are the latest in Congresswoman Haaland’s work to ensure New Mexico and the country as a whole have the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, Rep. Haaland voted to pass the CARES Act in support of families, workers, and small businesses. The CARES Act provided immediate direct cash payment to lower and middle-income families, as well as $200 billion for hospitals, healthcare workers, and health research and $8 billion set-aside for Tribal governments. More recently, Congresswoman Haaland introduced the THRIVE resolution with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to rebuild and recover from the current crisis by creating millions of good, safe jobs with access to unions while investing in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.