New Report on Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat in Education and Health Care

Filed in Seton Hall Law, Social Justice by on November 14, 2014 0 Comments

Rachel_Godsil_176x220Seton Hall Law’s Rachel Godsil is the lead author of a newly-released report, The Science of Equality Volume 1: Addressing Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat in Education and Health Care. The report “details how unconscious phenomena in our minds –implicit bias, racial anxiety, and stereotype threat–impact our education and health care systems, while offering empirical, research-driven solutions to overcome their effects.”

With regard to health care, the report highlights the following racial dynamics:

♦ Physicians were 40% less likely to refer African Americans for cardiac catheterization than whites; the lowest referral rates were for African American women.
♦ Doctors’ levels of bias largely mirrored those of the general population, with medical doctors strongly preferring whites over blacks. Doctors in some fields, such as pediatrics, showed less biased behavioral responses to racial difference.
♦ Physicians engaged with patients of color may be less likely to be empathic, to elicit sufficient information, and to encourage patients to participate in medical decision-making.
♦ African American patients have a greater level of distrust toward white counselors in clinical settings, which has serious consequences for mental health care, as well as physical health care.

[symple_spacing size=”15″]The authors write:

The potential harm of implicit biases has been recognized, and many institutions are beginning to engage in efforts to prevent implicit biases from undermining fair and equitable decision-making. For example, recent research suggests potential interventions for hospitals and doctors to reduce the effects of implicit bias (Chapman et al, 2013). This report contributes to that work by summarizing important research into debiasing and preventing bias from affecting behavior; we also seek to encourage institutions to look beyond implicit bias and to recognize that racial anxiety and stereotype threat may also be obstacles to racially equal outcomes.

[symple_spacing size=”30″]The whole report, here, is well worth reading.

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