MPH Project Defense: Renee Nichols
Advisor/Chair: Dr. Faika Zanjani
Committee Members: Dr. James Butler
Title: Development of a Debiasing Toolkit for Health Professionals
In 2015, 33,092 people in the United States died of opioid-related overdose deaths surpassing the number of people who died of gun homicides and accounting for 63% of all overdose deaths (Rudd, 2016). In the previous year, the rate of overdose for non-Hispanic Whites rose from 70% in 1999 to 82%. However, the rate of overdose deaths for Black Americans dropped from 14%, proportional to their rate in the population, to 8% (The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2015). Recent studies purport that undertreatment of pain of Black-Americans due to negative implicit racial bias held by physicians is a contributing factor to this disparity (Burgess et al., 2014; Hoffman et al., 2016). Although this may seem like a protective factor for Black-Americans, undertreatment of chronic pain is debilitating and impacts physical and mental wellness as well as social life and employment status (Breivik et. al, 2006). Implicit racial bias effects the decision-making process, which negatively impacts patient health outcomes. The aim of this project is to increase knowledge of implicit racial bias, it’s effect on patient-provider interactions and health outcomes and the tools necessary to minimize the impact of implicit racial bias on decision-making. Expert feedback provided recommendations for language and flow of the prototype. Pilot test showed that health professionals can benefit from implicit racial bias training.