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Advancing unconscious bias training for healthcare professionals

With support from the Our Race to Health Equity Business Matching Fund, Johnson & Johnson Institute and CME Outfitters are training healthcare professionals to recognize and address inequities in healthcare to improve patient care for historically marginalized individuals.

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For healthcare providers (HCPs), unconscious bias—social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their conscious awareness—can influence their medical decisions and lead to false assumptions and negative outcomes for historically marginalized communities. Helping HCPs understand the impact of unconscious bias is paramount to improving patient care.

Overcoming racial disparity should be a whole health care team effort; from MDs to receptionists.
CME Program Participant

In July 2021, Johnson & Johnson Institute and CME Outfitters brought together thought leaders, multidisciplinary clinicians and patients in an educational roundtable to envision a nationwide cross-specialty Continuing Medical Education (CME) program to promote better patient care for historically marginalized individuals by their HCPs.

The initiative titled “Unconscious Bias and Disparities in Healthcare: A Call to Action” is offered to HCPs, including doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and many other professionals who require CME for licensure.

Through January 2023, approximately 116,000 HCPs participated in the unconscious bias and disparities trainings, many of the sessions far surpassing projected attendance goals.

I learned more in these two programs about providing equitable maternal healthcare than I did in all my med school training. This should be REQUIRED education, not “suggested”. Very powerful series. Thank you.
Participant from the Racial Disparities in Maternal Health Care Program

Program participants have access to an education and resources hub designed to help HCPs recognize healthcare inequities and equip them with tools to use in their clinical practices to address the barriers to equitable healthcare in under-resourced communities. Content for the hub is provided by CME Outfitters, which also manages the accreditation process for the various medical training programs and webinars.

The hub currently offers 39 on-demand courses and, since its inception, new content and resources have been added approximately every other month. CME topics include maternal health, cardiology, oral health, pain care, dermatology and many other disease areas. Programs often include faculty-led podcasts and use the peer-to-peer approach to train doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

In my training I was told that patients of color often have a higher pain tolerance, including Black mothers and Hispanic mothers. I had an attending tell us that we wait longer to call anesthesia if they are busy with other patients because these mothers have a higher pain threshold.
Participant from the Racial Disparities in Maternal Health Care Program

Program webcasts emphasize guidance, education, and how to talk to the patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. For example, one program follows a 52-year-old Latina woman diagnosed with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Expert faculty discuss the nuances of the case and the importance of recognizing not only the healthcare disparities related to obesity in general, but also the intersectional impact that obesity can have on preexisting racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes.

“The goal of Our Race to Health Equity is to close the racial health gap in the United States,” said Jorge Leon, Director, Our Race to Health Equity, Johnson & Johnson. “Educating and training healthcare providers by sponsoring initiatives such as these unconscious bias trainings through CME Outfitters is a critical step in moving us in the right direction and helping us to achieve our overall objectives and creating health equity for everyone. Collaborating with partners such as CME Outfitters is crucial to helping us achieve our educational goals.”

See more ways Johnson & Johnson is working to support health equity

Learn about the company’s Our Race to Health Equity initiative, which aims to help eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat by eliminating health inequities for people of color.
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