An Associate Dean for the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine says research shows that African American women who go to a doctor are less likely to feel welcomed and that their doctor cares for them. Cheryl Dickson says it’s one of the ways that implicit bias can affect health.
Dickson will discuss health equity at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo Community Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo on Thursday March 7th. She says physicians don’t want to treat people differently, but are not immune to images that may create unconscious bias. Dickson says many things like income, gender and religion also influence health outcomes.
Dickson says teaching about implicit bias is one of the things she loves about being in a medical school. She says disparities have been there, but now more is being learned about people’s cultures. Dickson says it’s important to discuss bias even though “it’s really hard to talk about.”
In addition to gender, race and religion, Dickson says the LGBTQ community experiences disparities in health care. She says “a headache is a headache…I should be able to take care of you.” But Dickson says if there is something specialized in regards to hormones, a doctor should know how to direct a patient to the resources they need.