The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends educating physicians about implicit bias and strategies to address it as a tool to support culturally appropriate, patient-centered care, achieve health equity and reduce health disparities.Special attention should also focus on formal medical education and training curricula that identify and provide evidence-based mitigation strategies in clinical practice. Implicit bias education and mitigation strategy education should be part of broader institutional and structural policy changes and interventions to achieve greater health equity.
Implicit bias, defined as, ‘the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner,’ is a contributing factor to health disparities. Furthermore, implicit bias directly affects patients, and communities at large, and their interaction with the health care system. Family physicians should make efforts to explore their own implicit biases to identify unconscious decisions and actions that may negatively affect the communities they serve. Processes to diminish individual-level implicit bias include acknowledgement that all people have implicit bias, awareness of how implicit bias impacts clinical care, and evidence-based strategies for building empathy towards equitable clinical outcomes. (2018 July BOD) (October 2023 COD)