AACOM Diversity News

Council on Diversity and Equity Members Collaborate with NRMN to Create Unconscious Bias Modules

The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) recently released an online self-directed course on unconscious bias, available to all students, educators and practitioners involved in healthcare. 

Development of the course involved a collaboration between three members of AACOM's Council on Diversity and Equity (CDE):  Mirabelle Fernandes-Paul, EdD, Assistant Vice President of University Student Affairs at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (WesternU/COMP); Linda Grace Solis, PhD, Assistant Professor of Applied Humanities at the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM); and Jamboor Vishwanatha, PhD, Vice President of the Center for Diversity and International Programs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC).

Development of the course began during the Council’s annual meeting in December 2018. From the onset, the final product was designed to be available to individuals across the full healthcare continuum, from medical students to attending physicians. The team also created a toolkit, which provides those who complete the modules with tangible tips for how to mitigate their own biases. Each of the modules includes opportunities for self-reflection, which the team felt was critical to examine and overcome built-in biases.

“It’s not that these modules will obliterate bias in medicine overnight,” Dr. Fernandes-Paul said. “It will take a lot more for a system to shake off the cognitive shortcutting (stereotyping) in medical settings. It will take more than physicians aware of their own privilege and prepared to be the best allies they can be for their patients. But this is a great start.”

Dr. Solis also shared appreciation for the team, and stated, “The team behind these modules was the most efficient and effective team I’ve ever been on! The entire process was fantastic. Every single team member offered their particular expertise enthusiastically and unselfishly, and the resulting modules showcase the passion and caring of the team.”

From its release date through August 28, 2020, 353 individuals have enrolled in the course. Access the Unconscious Bias course at NRMN's website.