In the new study, trainee doctors in Boston and Atlanta took a 20-minute computer survey designed to detect overt and implicit prejudice. They were also presented with the hypothetical case of a 50-year-old man stricken with sharp chest pain; in some scenarios the man was white, while in others he was black.Click here to access the article.
"We found that as doctors' unconscious biases against blacks increased, their likelihood of giving [clot-busting] treatment decreased," said the lead author of the study, Dr. Alexander R. Green of Massachusetts General Hospital. "It's not a matter of you being a racist. It's really a matter of the way your brain processes information is influenced by things you've seen, things you've experienced, the way media has presented things."
Specialists predict that the novel study, appearing on the website of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, will result in considerable soul-searching in the medical profession, rethinking of medical school curriculum, and refresher courses for veteran doctors.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Prescription for change?
Check out this Boston Globe article "Tests of ER trainees find signs of race bias in care"; from the article: