Implicit Bias Recognition and Management in Interpersonal Encounters and the Learning Environment: A Skills-Based Curriculum for Medical Students

Cristina M. Gonzalez, Sydney A. Walker, Natalia Rodriguez, Yuliana S. Noah, Paul R. Marantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Introduction: Students desire instruction in skill development to address both their own implicit biases and bias perceived in the learning environment. Curricula to date achieve strategy identification through reflection and discussion but do not provide opportunity for personally relevant skill development and practice in implicit bias recognition and management. To address this gap, we developed and evaluated a skills-based elective in implicit bias recognition and management focused on learners' own interpersonal interactions, including patient encounters, and perceived bias in the learning environment. Method: Fifteen first-year medical students completed the nine-session elective over three annual offerings. Each session lasted 1.5 hours. Curriculum development was informed by published frameworks and transformative learning theory. Direct observation of student performances in role-plays and other active learning exercises constituted the formative assessment. Program evaluation focused on the impact of instruction through pre- and posttests, along with analysis of notes taken by the investigative team, including notes on formative assessments. Results: Students engaged with all aspects of instruction, including role-plays. Pretest/posttest results demonstrated increased self-reported knowledge and comfort in addressing perceived bias. Formative assessment demonstrated students' skill development in safely and respectfully addressing perceived bias in the learning environment without endangering their relationships with supervisors. Discussion: Skills developed-addressing bias in interpersonal encounters and perceived bias in clinical and teaching encounters-are relevant to learners throughout their careers. This course is relevant to medical students and trainees at various experience levels and could serve as a template for novel, skills-based curricula across health professions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11168
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - 2021


  • Anti-racism
  • Health Disparities
  • Hidden Curriculum
  • Implicit Bias
  • Learning Environment
  • Self-Assessment
  • Unconscious Bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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