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What is Implicit Bias? What healthcare professionals need to know.

What colors do you think of when I say these words? Go. Apple. Sky. You probably came up with green, red, and blue. However, those aren't the only answers. At a crosswalk, the crossing sign flashes a white figure telling you to go. An apple can be green, and the sky can be black at night. You came to those answers without thinking; it was an unconscious, automatic, and unintentional reaction to my question.


An implicit bias functions using the same mechanism. An implicit bias is the automatic, unintentional, and unconscious bias that affects a person's decisions and behaviors. These biases are based on the experiences one has had in their life and their identity. They can form from something as simple as the street one grew up on or one's first job. The tricky thing about implicit biases is that people are not aware of them, meaning they can affect everyday life without notice. When applied to the healthcare system, this can mean affecting a patient's care.


If you'd like to learn more about implicit biases and how to get rid of harmful ones, register for Michigan Health Council's trainings at mhc.org/education. Our implicit bias training topics range from poverty to race to sex, gender, and sexuality. All trainings satisfy Michigan R338.7004 requirement for licensure and licensure.



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