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Racial Bias In Healthcare

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

How healthcare providers feel when they see you.


According to the American Journal of Public Health, People of Color face disparities in “access to health care, the quality of care received, and health outcomes” here in the in the United States. The attitudes and behaviors of health care providers was identified as one of the main reasons for these disparities.



Racial Bias with Healthcare Providers

Most healthcare providers appear to have implicit bias in terms of positive attitudes toward Whites and negative attitudes toward People of Color. These attitudes and behaviors are difficult to acknowledge and control because they exist outside of conscious awareness. And unfortunately, these implicit attitudes influence negative human behavior that impacts the level of care and treatment for People of Color.


Effects of Racial Bias


Racial bias in healthcare has led to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) having a harder time accessing healthcare. This leads to delays in treatment which causes worse health outcomes.


Physicians Feelings About Different Races Groups


We found an interesting study from Race IAT that examined Black vs White and Hispanic/Latino/Latina vs White faces associated with positive and negative words and here are the shocking findings:


70% of physicians showed some level of implicit bias against Black people and Hispanics/Latinos. 51% of physicians had moderate-to-strong levels of bias against Hispanics/Latinos/Latinas.


42% of physicians had moderate-to-strong levels of bias against Black people.



How To Break the Cycle


We know this is a tough thing to read but we must understand the problem so that we can try to fix it. If you’re interested in being part of the solution, read this article for actionable steps to help combat racial biases in healthcare.


 

Resources: American Journal of Public Health, National Library of Medicine


This page contains general medical information. Medical knowledge and practice can change rapidly. Therefore, this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.


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