About this Research Topic
In the US and elsewhere, implicit bias remains a nearly intractable problem. Thus, like everyone, healthcare professionals hold implicit biases against many categories of people and unknowingly discriminate against them. In the healthcare industry, these biases can adversely affect healthcare outcomes of patients such as through suboptimal drug treatment decisions, patient-provider interactions, and treatment adherence. Such biases also influence selection of patients for clinical trials and how drugs are promoted to the general public. Implicit bias mitigation can, however, foster awareness of this discrimination and increase compassionate behavior among practitioners. Hence, such approaches should be used to train all healthcare professions students and professionals themselves. This life-long learning would improve not only the health of those against whom we discriminate, but public health more generally.
Implicit association tests, and other tools, are useful in helping students and practitioners mitigate unconscious biases against people owing to their color, ethnicity, gender, body weight, and sexual orientation. Similarly, healthcare professionals likely need to work to avoid discriminating against children, older people, homeless people, those of lower socioeconomic status, and even other practitioners. Moreover, the groups against whom we might be prejudiced may expand further depending on the circumstances of healthcare delivery. We strive to motivate clinical pharmacologists, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to mitigate conscious and unconscious biases against patients and each other throughout their careers. The intentional practice of mindfulness, self-examination, critical reflection, and compassionate behavior on a daily basis, should foster this bias mitigation.
Papers addressing these and related issues are invited for this Research Topic, including those presenting new findings as well as ones reviewing the field more broadly. Works to mitigate unconscious bias in healthcare professions are especially encouraged. Specific themes include but are not limited to;
• Unconscious bias mitigation, compassionate behavior, removing bias from patient-provider interactions, and patient adherence to drug treatment plans
• Implicit bias and patient selection for clinical trials: consequences for public health
• Use of mindfulness, self-examination, and critical reflection to prevent burnout throughout practitioners’ careers: implications for management of drug treatment plans and patient-provider interactions
• Does drug promotion favor those of higher socioeconomic status?
• How can the humanities help healthcare professionals mitigate their conscious and unconscious biases?
• Does implicit bias against patients influence the placebo effect?
Keywords: Compassion, implicit bias, life-long learning, healthcare professions, pharmacy student education
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.