Unconscious prejudices and negative attitudes toward certain groups of people can compromise good health care when those prejudices involve patients or make the clinical workplace more difficult. Research shows that these unspoken biases can be changed, but individuals must recognize that they have them in the first place.
These eight tactics, which spell out “IMPLICIT,” can help you mitigate your own implicit biases:
Introspection: Explore and identify your own prejudices by taking implicit association tests or through other means of self-analysis.
Mindfulness: Since you’re more likely to give in to your biases when you’re under pressure, practice ways to reduce stress and increase mindfulness, such as focused breathing.
Perspective-taking: Consider experiences from the point of view of the person being stereotyped. You can do this by reading or watching content that discusses those experiences or directly interacting with people from those groups.
Learn to slow down: Before interacting with people from certain groups, pause and reflect to reduce reflexive actions. Consider positive examples of people from that stereotyped group, such as public figures or personal friends.
Individuation: Evaluate people based on their personal characteristics rather than those affiliated with their group. This could include connecting over shared interests.
Check your messaging: As opposed to saying things like “we don’t see color,” use statements that welcome and embrace multiculturalism or other differences.
Institutionalize fairness: Support a culture of diversity and inclusion at the organizational level. This could include using an “equity lens” tool to identify your group’s blind spots or reviewing the images in your office to see if they further or undercut stereotypes.
Take two: Resisting implicit bias is lifelong work. You have to constantly restart the process and look for new ways to improve.
Read the full FPM article: “How to Identify, Understand, and Unlearn Implicit Bias in Patient Care.”
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