When you know better you do better! We need implicit racial bias training.

Racial health disparities exist and because they are associated with worse outcomes, they are unacceptable. This was one of the initial findings from a study commissioned by the Institute of Medicine over 15 years ago. However, its something that BIPOC has known forever. Since that report, additional research confirms the role of a healthcare provider’s own implicit bias as a contribution to these disparities. Not only do providers have an implicit bias, as does everyone else, but they are more likely to have a pro-white bias (Zeidan, Khatri, et al, 2018).

Healthcare disparities among people of color continue to worsen. Racism is a public health crisis, and implicit bias plays a role in the quality care we deliver to communities.  Implicit bias and systemic racism affect the patient experience, per capita costs, and health outcomes; which are all part of IHI’s Triple AIM to improve the quality of care to Americans.  Sherman and Ricco (2019) said, “For an enduring change, there is a need for approaches that act as a catalyst for systemic change.”  

Since that initial study by the Institute of Medicine, much research on implicit bias training and its effect on healthcare professionals is available.  One study found that after a simple implicit bias training intervention, healthcare professionals became more aware of their implicit bias by over 33%, and the awareness of how that bias affects how they deliver care increases by 9% (Zeidan, Khatri, et al, 2018). These results and the hundreds of other articles should push organizations such as these accreditation organizations to create strong training standards.   

Am I preaching to the choir? Is this new information? Either way, we are at a point in history where many of us are asking for solutions. We need action! How can we put action behind the words and knowledge? One part of a solution is to hold the five largest healthcare accreditation organizations accountable.

Coming soon, Connected Consultants and I (as a doctoral student at MUSC) is launching a campaign pushing (URAC, NCQA, The Joint Commission, CARF, and COA) accrediting healthcare organizations to add standards that require the use of an evidence-based framework to develop and implement implicit bias and racism as a public health crisis training.   These organizations provide accreditation to 100,000 different healthcare organizations amongst a range of specialties and disciplines.  While many of them may have cultural competency training, this is not the same as implicit bias training and does not begin to address the systemic racism within American healthcare.  A mandatory standard from accrediting bodies would allow us to reach a vast amount of healthcare professionals across many disciplines.   

Now I need your help?

  1. Follow Connected Consultants, LLC on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for launch plans and calls to action.

  2. If you are a healthcare professional sign our petition demanding the accreditation organizations add implicit racial bias and racism as a public health crisis as a standard for accreditation.

  3. Urge healthcare executives at your company to support this issue by signing a letter of support that we will provide to the organization.

  4. Follow our social media campaign.

  5. Encourage your organization to join us a partner in this cause.

After the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, these organizations and others put out a statement supporting BIPOC and committing to anti-racism. This project holds them accountable for those statements. While I understand the process of adding a new standard to the accreditation requirements is very time-consuming, we are at the moment in history where we must address implicit bias and health inequities within the American healthcare system. 


Home. (2020, September 08). Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.familiesusa.org/

Sherman, M. D., Ricco, J., Nelson, S. C., Nezhad, S. J., & Prasad, S. (2019). Implicit Bias Training in Residency Program: Aiming for Enduring Effects. Family Medicine, 51(8), 677-681. doi:10.22454/fammed.2019.947255

Zeidan, A. J., Khatri, U. G., Aysola, J., Shofer, F. S., Mamtani, M., Scott, K. R., . . . Lopez, B. L. (2018). Implicit Bias Education and Emergency Medicine Training: Step One? Awareness. AEM Education and Training,3(1), 81-85. doi:10.1002/aet2.10124

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