Disparities in care for blacks linked to segregation, unconscious bias

Two studies published in January highlight the challenges blacks face in accessing equitable, quality health care.

In one study, primary care physicians found to have unconscious bias against blacks received lower marks from their African-American patients on measures of trust and communication skills. Another study found that racial segregation exacerbates disparities in lung cancer mortality.

More than 130 Denver-area primary care doctors and other health professionals such as nurse practitioners took psychological tests that measure implicit bias toward different racial and ethnic groups. Test takers were shown a series of faces, along with positive words such as “joy” and bad words such as “nasty.”

The speed with which the test taker associates the words with black or white faces demonstrates the existence and extent of their unconscious bias. The assessment, called the implicit association test, has been used in more than 700 studies in health care, psychology, market research and political science.


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Filed Under: Marginalized Populations in Healthcare

About the Author: publications@snma.org

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