Exploring the Association of Healthcare Worker Race and Occupation with Implicit and Explicit Racial Bias

Academic Article


  • Background: Racial bias is associated with suboptimal healthcare treatment for minorities. Research focuses on bias among physicians rather than non-physician healthcare staff (e.g., receptionists). Patients spend considerable amounts of time with non-physician staff. Therefore, we investigate differences in implicit and explicit racial bias by healthcare staff race and occupation using the Implicit Association Test and Modern Racism Scale, respectively. Methods: Staff (n = 107) were recruited using the Alabama based Primary Care Research Coalition. Occupation was categorized into “medical doctors/registered nurses” (MD/RN) and “non-MD/RN” (e.g., receptionists). Results: Implicit bias scores were higher among whites compared with blacks (0.62, −0.04, respectively; p < 0.01). Among whites, non-MD/RNs demonstrated more pro-white implicit bias compared with MD/RNs (0.67, 0.44, respectively; p < 0.01). Whites had higher explicit bias scores than blacks (17.7, 12.3, respectively; p < 0.01). Conclusion: Non-MD/RNs should not be overlooked for cultural competency training, and efforts are needed to reduce racial bias among healthcare workers identified as having higher levels of bias.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tajeu GS; Halanych J; Juarez L; Stone J; Stepanikova I; Green A; Cherrington AL
  • Start Page

  • 464
  • End Page

  • 472
  • Volume

  • 110
  • Issue

  • 5