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Doctors have implicit, subconscious preferences for white patients over those of color, studies show.
This is implicit bias.
These biases — stereotypes that affect our understanding and decisions about others beyond our conscious control — lead to discrimination and health disparities.
Fortunately, implicit bias can be “rewired” for compassion for patients of color.
Download the free Salud America! Action Pack “Health Care Workers and Researchers: Find If You Have Implicit Bias and What to Do Next.”
“This Action Pack will help you see if you have implicit bias, learn from others who have overcome their own implicit bias, and encourage colleagues to learn about implicit bias, too,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! Latino health equity program at UT Health San Antonio, who created the Action Pack.
With the Action Pack, you can:
- Take an “Implicit Association Test (IAT)” to Identify Implicit Bias. Harvard University and other researchers created the IAT in 1998. It aims to identify implicit bias by measuring the strength of the association between concepts (i.e., race or ethnicity, thinness or fatness) and attributes (i.e., good, bad).
- Evaluate Your IAT Results on Implicit Bias. To help you reflect on your IAT results, read a fact sheet from the Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University. Then learn from other doctors, researchers, and health care workers who have overcome implicit bias to help others.
- Encourage a Colleague to Take the IAT. Spread the word about the need to identify and also address implicit bias in the health care field and clinical trial diversity.
“Intervention programs are starting to arise with an aim to address implicit biases toward more compassion and understanding for the impoverished and people of color. This could help lead to more equitable distribution of resources and access to health and wealth opportunity,” according to a Salud America! research review on social cohesion and implicit bias.