Accessibility Studies Club raises awareness for accessibility bill

Courtesy of ASC

Courtesy of ASC

Tapanga Krause, Staff Reporter

The Accessibility Studies Club (ASC) is working to raise awareness for the Healthcare Accessibility Bill that was passed last year. ASC president Amanda Hopkins says that the bill was brought to their attention by CWU student Autumn Straker, and the club felt that it was just the project they were looking for.

According to the Senate, Bill 5229 aims to equip healthcare works with the skills to recognize health inequities in their daily work. As well as the skills needed to address systemic racism and bias in the healthcare system. 

According to CWU senior and President of ASC Amanda Hopkins, the rest of the club members were very supportive of the idea, and they immediately began working on ways to spread awareness of this bill. They want to do this by adopting the viral effect.

“We’re all familiar with the viral effect,” Hopkins said. “Each person telling another person or organization and just kind of making it a point to keep doing that.”

The viral effect can, Hopkins says, spread the awareness farther from the point of origin. They started by bringing it up at the Inter-Club Association (ICA) meeting that occurred on Jan. 19 because there are a lot of clubs on campus that have members who are possibly more likely to be affected by these kinds of inequities.

According to Straker, amongst all of the protests that went on last year inequalities in healthcare became a more prevalent issue. She goes on to discuss that it is important to be aware of this, even if the individual person doesn’t have a story about inequalities in healthcare, that doesn’t mean that someone they know or someone their friend knows hasn’t experienced these inequalities. So, it’s important to talk about it and spread that awareness.

“It’s almost like they might not care personally,” Straker said. “But if they care about other people, I think it would be a really powerful thing.”   

Another step that ASC is trying to do is gather contact information of different clubs and organizations through Google Forums. They have been working on this database so that clubs and organizations can keep track of who else they are contacting and letting them know about this issue. This database, according to Hopkins, allows them to see how big of an impact they are making together. Hopkins states that the most important thing is raising awareness by being supportive.

“Thankfully, in this circumstance,” Hopkins said. “One of the ways you can make a difference and be supportive is just sending the word out.”

Straker said that even if people haven’t experienced inequalities in the healthcare system, they shouldn’t assume that another person has or has not. People can’t assume what others are going through.

Hopkins said that there is a limited amount of time to get the ball rolling before the legislature moves to the next stage of developing the bill. Getting people to talk about their experiences is important information that the Department of Health (DOH) wants to gather.

According to the DOH website, during the month of February the DOH will be holding listening sessions over zoom so that they can listen to the concerns of people. They also hope to clarify any misconceptions or confusion about healthcare inequality and how they hope to limit those inequalities.

“I just want it to be known,” Straker said. “That even if you haven’t had health inequities, someone else might have and it’s good to share it.”