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News Roundup | Week of May 11, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 5/11/18 2:10 PM

In this week's News Roundup:
  • Unconscious Bias Training Can Ease Crisis in Black Maternal Mortality
  • Stigmatizing Language in Medical Records Affects Patient Care
  • Discrimination Causes Latinas to Be Less Satisfied with Contraception
  • Documentary Explores Desegregation of Healthcare System

Unconscious Bias Training Can Ease Crisis in Black Maternal Mortality

We've reported extensively on the dismal maternal mortality rates in the U.S., and the crisis in black maternal mortality in particular. A new piece by NBC News follows the stories of two black mothers who experienced serious complications with their deliveries. Both women felt their medical teams were dismissive and brusque, and that their health problems may have been avoided with better communication. They are among the 32% of black women who feel they’ve been discriminated against in physicians’ offices. Unconscious (or implicit) bias on the part of healthcare providers has very real consequences for patient outcomes. Bias training may not be the complete solution, but it is part of the solution, and should become a standard practice in all medical schools and healthcare organizations.

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News Roundup | Week of April 27, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 4/27/18 12:21 PM

Asian Americans Undertreated for Mental Health Disorders

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News Roundup | Week of March 23, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 3/26/18 7:13 PM

How to Improve Diversity in Clinical Trials

As reported in previous News Roundups, a lack of diversity in clinical trials results in disparities in care among under-served populations. Recruiting different racial and ethnic groups, especially African-Americans, remains a challenge. A focus-group study conducted by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center sought to learn what it would take to address this problem. Results show that trust and communication are key to increasing minority participation in clinical trials.

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News Roundup | Week of March 9, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 3/9/18 3:42 PM

Cancer Screening Recommendations Put Nonwhite Women at Risk

In the United States, the recommended age for women to begin routine mammograms for cancer screening was recently increased to 50 years of age. This was based on a study of 747,763 mostly white women showing that breast cancer diagnoses peaked in their 60s. But researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have published a new study in JAMA Surgery that shows black, Hispanic, and Asian women tend to get breast cancer earlier than white women. A lack of data from racially diverse populations could put nonwhite women at risk for delayed diagnosis. According to David Chang, PhD, MBA, MPH, of the MGH department of surgery and an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, "The situation with breast cancer is one of the best examples of how science done without regard to racial differences can produce guidelines that would be ultimately harmful to minority patients."

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News Roundup | Week of March 2, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 3/2/18 1:59 PM

Bias Impacts Research in Precision Medicine

Unconscious bias can lead to negative outcomes for disadvantage patient populations, even when that bias occurs behind-the-scenes in research settings. A new report from Data & Society identifies several ways that datasets can become biased, including historical bias, analytical bias, and access to different types of genetic data. “Bias through invisibility—such as lack of data on certain factors—can trigger discriminatory outcomes just as easily as explicitly problematic data,” note the authors.

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News Roundup | Week of January 26, 2018

By Megan Bedford on 1/26/18 5:20 PM

Unconscious Bias Shielded Larry Nassar

The country was shocked this week by the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar, formerly the USA Gymnastics team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University. Dr. Nassar confessed to serial child molestation after being accused of abusing at least 150 underage girls during his career. A piece in The Atlantic argues that Nassar's behavior was sheilded by the tendency of medical providers to doubt female pain. This tendency stems from unconscious bias that labels women as "hysterical," "emotional," and inherently less trustworthy than men. 

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Case Study: Cross-Cultural Issues in Mental Health

By Alexander Green, MD, MPH on 8/24/17 1:47 PM

Maria Pérez is a 46 year-old woman, originally from the Dominican Republic, who reports to her primary care provider (PCP) because she has been feeling fatigued and dizzy for several months. Exploring this further, Mrs. Pérez acknowledges that she has also had trouble sleeping and has been feeling less "herself" lately. She has lost some weight.

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