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Physicians’ bias and black lives


In  an essay in The New England Journal of Medicine, David A. Ansell, M.D., and Edwin K. McDonald, M.D., discuss “Bias, Black Lives, and Academic Medicine.’

Among their conclusions:

“First, there is evidence that doctors hold stereotypes based on patients’ race that can influence their clinical decisions. Implicit bias refers to unconscious racial stereotypes that grow from our personal and cultural experiences….Although explicit race bias is rare among physicians, an unconscious preference for whites as compared with blacks is commonly revealed on tests of implicit bias.

“Second, despite physicians’ and medical centers’ best intentions of being equitable, black–white disparities persist in patient outcomes, medical education, and faculty recruitment. In the 2002 report Unequal Treatment, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed hundreds of studies of age, sex, and racial differences in medical diagnoses, treatments, and healthcare outcomes.The IOM’s conclusion was that for almost every disease studied, black Americans received less effective care than white Americans. ”


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