Implicit Bias Awareness and Training

Originally approved October 2021


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is committed to supporting diversity, inclusion, and equity in all aspects of the practice of medicine. Implicit bias refers to attitudes and associations that an individual holds about others that exist outside their conscious awareness yet influence their behavior. ACEP recognizes that implicit bias affects the quality of medical care patients receive and patient outcomes. Implicit bias also creates inequities in opportunities for all members of the healthcare team including within the realms of education, hiring, promotion, leadership, and compensation. These inequities remain pervasive within emergency medicine, and impact physicians at all levels of training from medical students to attending physicians. Improving these inequities is vital to the practice of medicine and necessitates a larger cultural change not only amongst physicians within the field of emergency medicine, but inclusive of all members of the healthcare team across all specialties. ACEP strongly recommends inclusion of implicit bias training for emergency physicians at all practice levels and encourages the inclusion of implicit bias training for all members of the healthcare team.

To this effect, ACEP recommends implementation of the following strategies:

  • Incorporate effective implicit bias training into the continuing education of all emergency medicine physicians and trainees including instruction in bias recognition and mitigation techniques
  • Strive to include a diverse group of representatives in all interviewing, recruiting, hiring, and promotional processes
  • Implement policies and practices that support transparency in hiring, recruitment, and promotion regarding compensation, benefits, and clinical as well as non-clinical responsibilities
  • Support expanding opportunities for promotion and career advancement through mentorship, sponsorship, and physician development initiatives
  • Employ processes to identify implicit bias and mitigate its effects on the assessments of trainees including shift or rotation evaluations, interview evaluations, and the formation of rank lists
  • Incorporate methods to address the influence of implicit bias on patient care and patient outcomes as a vital element of continuous quality improvement within the healthcare system
  • Demonstrate sustained efforts to increase awareness of implicit bias and engage in bias reduction strategies

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