Michigan to require implicit bias training for providers

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive July 9 that will require healthcare professionals in the state to undergo implicit bias training to improve racial equity. 

The order directs the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to develop rules mandating the training before medical professionals can receive, renew or register their license.

"COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on people of color due to a variety of factors, and we must do everything we can to address this disparity," Ms. Whitmer said. "The evidence shows that training in implicit bias can make a positive difference, so today we are taking action to help improve racial equity across Michigan's healthcare system."

Reducing racial and other disparities in healthcare has been a key topic among hospitals across the U.S. amid protests against racism and excessive police force worldwide, and as the pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color.

On June 19, three dozen Chicago healthcare organizations collectively pledged to work together to improve health equity citywide. Thirteen hospitals and health systems in the Philadelphia area made a similar pledge July 1.

In Michigan, Black residents represented 14 percent of the state population as of July 5, but 40 percent of confirmed COVID-19 deaths in which race was known, according to the governor's office.

The governor's recent directive requires the state to consult with relevant stakeholders by Nov. 1 "to help determine relevant goals and concerns under the new rules." 

The state also will work with professional boards and task forces on the rules.

Access the full executive directive here

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