Gov. Whitmer to Require Implicit Bias Training for Medical Licensure

July 9, 2020—On the recommendation of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive on July 9 that requires healthcare professionals take implicit bias training to obtain or renew a medical license in Michigan. The goal is to improve equity in the delivery of healthcare.  

The training requirement applies to all health professions under Article 15 of the Michigan Public Health Code, with the exception of veterinarians.

Under the directive, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is tasked with establishing new rules for the training requirement. In doing so, LARA is required by the directive to, not later than Nov. 1, consult with stakeholders, including licensed healthcare professionals, to gather input regarding proposed training standards. The director of LARA, Orlene Hawks, said promulgating new rules could take 6-12 months.

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.

AAFP recently hosted a webinar on “Tackling Implicit Bias,” now available for on-demand viewing. AAFP’s director of the Center for Diversity and Health Equity, Danielle Jones, discusses how implicit bias has impacted healthcare delivery during the COVID-19 crisis, explains how individuals can evaluate themselves and their practices to determine if implicit bias is present in daily work, and shares tools and resources to help eliminate /reduce implicit bias in practice. The one-hour on-demand webinar is approved for 1 CME credit

The Academy also developed a PowerPoint presentation through The EveryoneONE Project to help facilitate practice teams’ in-service or lunch-and-learn sessions on implicit bias. Click here to download the presentation.