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Implicit Racial Bias Education and Healthcare Students: A Review of Current Practices

Purpose: Racial disparities in health are well-documented, underscoring the need for health equity education for future healthcare professionals. The goal of this literature review was to examine and describe the interventions, strategies, and an overview of the current evidence-based strategies for implicit bias education of future medical providers.

Method: Guided by the exploratory question of discovering the ways Physician Assistant and Medical students are being taught about implicit racial (IR) bias, a search was conducted in PubMed, CINAHL, ERIC, and Google Scholar. Search terms reflected keywords about IR bias education strategies with an intervention and outcome, and PA or medical students within the last 10 years.

Results: Of the dozens of peer-reviewed articles on this topic, 12 were chosen for inclusion. Despite heterogeneity in the study designs in this review, there is evidence that healthcare professional student’s exhibit implicit racial or ethnic bias. In both quantitative and qualitative measures, students and faculty consistently and overwhelmingly recognize the importance ofeducation on this topic.

Conclusions: There are different types of successful strategies implemented for IR bias education. There is limited and inconclusive research evidence about the impact of IR bias on clinical decision-making due to difficulty in measuring this.


Thea Cogan-Drew*

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