Indiana Bill Would Establish Commission To Address Racial Health Disparities
Indiana Rep. William Crawford (D) has introduced a bill (HB 1194) that would establish a commission to address disparities in overall well-being between black and white youth in the state, the Indianapolis Star reports. Black youth under age 18 comprise of 10% of the state's juvenile population. At the same time, they account for one-third of youth in the child welfare system, make up one-third of the youth in the juvenile justice system and are about three times as likely as white youth to be living in poverty, according to the Star. The Race Matters Consortium cites Indiana as one of 16 states with "extreme" well-being gaps between black and white youth, the Star reports. The bill would create a 33-member Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services to study the disparities and form solutions. Crawford is seeking $125,000 to fund the project. "The statistics really jump out at you," Crawford said, adding, "I just think it is necessary that we take a closer look at the situation and causes and try to find some answers." The bill is assigned to the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee but has not been scheduled for a hearing (Evans, Indianapolis Star, 2/5). In related news, Indiana has been chosen as the first state to launch a federal initiative to encourage community leaders to eliminate health disparities among minority populations (Inside Indiana Business, 2/2). The HHS initiative, called the National Action Agenda to End Health Disparities for Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations, seeks to address issues such as obesity, mental health and tobacco use among minorities through all sectors of the community. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for minority health at HHS, said he hopes Indiana will become a model for the rest of the nation (Evans, Indianapolis Star, 2/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.