JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing on the state’s struggling healthcare system.

Legislators heard from healthcare experts on the impact diversity can have in Mississippi hospitals. With so few Black physicians working in the state, healthcare experts believe prioritizing representation could have a positive impact.

“Communities engage with individuals who they feel comfortable and heard by. That becomes a much easier task if you have individuals who look like their communities. What that means is increased patient compliance, a cultural understanding about what the challenges are for patients in complying with treatment plans and things like that,” said Loretta Jackson-Williams, Vice Dean of Medical Education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).

Shortcomings in nursing programs throughout the state were also addressed at the hearing.