Addressing Implicit Bias to Improve Cross-Cultural Care
Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal
Posted: 9 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 8, 2017
Health disparities are centuries old and continue to cluster around race, ethnicity, education, neighborhoods, and income. Systems of exclusion that correlate with social determinants compound the disproportionate burden of poor health experienced by people of color. By 2056, ~50% of the population is expected to fall into categories currently labeled “under-represented minorities” (URMs) compared with about 31% of the population currently identified as URMs, primarily African Americans, Latinx, and American Indian. Although URMs comprise 30% of the general population, only 9% of medical doctors (AAMC) are URMs; the medical workforce is unprepared to provide the highest quality care for a growing diverse population. Implicit bias can influence medical decision-making and heighten health care inequities. We can lessen the negative effects of implicit bias and minimize inequities and unequal treatment of URMs by medical providers with training in cross-disciplinary diversity knowledge and communication skills. This framework is critical in closing health disparity gaps and in transforming educational and treatment models to support diverse and marginalized patients with concomitant benefits for all patients and providers.
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