Alert: Implicit Bias Training Requirement Announced for Medical Licensure and Renewal

June 1, 2021—On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced the adoption of new administrative rules that, effective June 1, 2022, require implicit bias training for medical licensure and renewal in Michigan.

Rule Highlights

  • New applicants for medical licensure must complete a minimum of two hours of training.
  • Applicants for renewal must complete a minimum of one hour of training each year.
  • The annual training can cover a variety of topics related to recognizing and mitigating implicit bias but must incorporate strategies to reduce disparities, including the administration of self-assessments.
  • Training may be sponsored by a nationally or state recognized health-related organization, such as American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and Michigan Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP), in addition to accredited colleges/universities, state or federal agencies, state licensing boards, or an organization specializing in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Academy Training

As a chapter of American Academy of Family Physicians, MAFP aligns with AAFP’s position that implicit bias—defined as, “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner,”—is a contributing factor to health disparities, and that family physicians should make efforts to explore their own implicit biases to identify unconscious decisions and actions that may negatively affect the communities they serve. The Academy recommends educating physicians about implicit bias and strategies to address it to support culturally appropriate, patient-centered care and reduce health disparities.

“MAFP appreciated the opportunity we have had to work with LARA throughout the rule drafting process, sharing family physicians’ commitment to ensuring all patients receive the care they need, regardless of class or creed,” said MAFP Chief Executive Officer Karlene Ketola, MSA, CAE.

MAFP featured an article on developing implicit bias and minimizing its impact on care delivery in the fall 2020 issue of Michigan Family Physician, authored by Danielle Jones, MPH, director of the Center for Diversity and Health Equity at AAFP.

MAFP also hosted a webinar, Let’s Talk Bias, this spring, and we collaborated with other state chapters on virtual programming centered on bias. All CME and professional development events hosted by MAFP can be found at mafp.com/events.

“Moving forward, MAFP will continue to provide continuing medical education and professional development on mitigating implicit bias to help members meet this important new requirement for medical licensure and renewal.”

The state’s new implicit bias training requirements are included in sections R 338.7001 - 338.7005 of the Public Health Code – General Rules.