How to Make or Break Implicit Bias Instruction: Implications for Curriculum Development

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Abstract

Purpose

To analyze faculty experiences regarding facilitating discussions as part of the institution’s curriculum on racial and ethnic implicit bias recognition and management.

Method

Between July 2014 and September 2016, the authors conducted 21 in-depth interviews with faculty who had experience teaching in implicit bias instruction or were interested in facilitating discussions related to implicit bias and the Implicit Association Test. Grounded theory methodology was used to analyze interview transcripts.

Results

Participants identified challenges that affect their ability to facilitate instruction in implicit bias. Faculty described the influence of their own background and identities as well as the influence of institutional values on their ability to facilitate implicit bias discussions. They noted the impact of resistant learners and faculty during discussions and made suggestions for institutional measures including the need for implementation of formalized longitudinal implicit bias curricula and faculty development.

Conclusions

Faculty facilitating sessions on implicit bias must attend faculty development sessions to be equipped to deal with some of the challenges they may face. Buy-in from institutional leadership is essential for successful implementation of implicit bias teaching, and medical educators need to consider formalized longitudinal curricula addressing the recognition and management of implicit biases.

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