Why Bias Matters in Medicine: Qualitative Insights from Anonymous, Online Reports

Jessica P. Cerdeña, Tehreem Rehman, Rachel R. Hardeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Bias has been shown to influence the experience and mental health of healthcare professional trainees and faculty in academic medicine. The authors investigated the character and impact of self-reported bias experiences sustained in the academic medical arena that were submitted anonymously online to the website SystemicDisease.com. Method: This qualitative study analyzed 22 narratives submitted online to SystemicDisease.com between September 2015 and March 2017. Both deductive and inductive content analysis was performed, using a combination of a priori axial and open coding. Results: The most commonly reported biases occurred on the basis of race and/or gender. Multiple submitters indicated this bias had influenced or threatened their intended career trajectory. Healthcare professional trainees also expressed altruistic concerns toward other underrepresented individuals as well as toward patients from disadvantaged backgrounds. Conclusion: Racial and gender bias constitute a considerable barrier for trainees and professionals in academic medicine. Institutional awareness of these impacts can inform interventions designed to foster a more inclusive professional climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Hardeman's role in this research was supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute , National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01HL085631 , R01HL085631-S2 , R01HL085631-S3 . Dr. Hardeman is also supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program Dr. Hardeman also gratefully acknowledges support from the Minnesota Population Center ( P2C HD041023 ) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) .

Funding Information:
Jessica Cerde?a is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars. Dr. Hardeman's role in this research was supported by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01HL085631, R01HL085631-S2, R01HL085631-S3. Dr. Hardeman is also supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program Dr. Hardeman also gratefully acknowledges support from the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Funding Information:
Jessica Cerdeña is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Medical Association

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Academic medicine
  • Bias
  • Discrimination
  • Healthcare
  • Racism
  • Sexism

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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