In 2003, the Institute of Medicine’s publication "Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care" highlighted how people of color receive lower quality care and have worse health outcomes, even when controlling for socioeconomic differences, insurance and healthcare access. Numerous studies have demonstrated that healthcare providers are subject to implicit bias, which has a negative impact on the patients they serve. Despite the Human Genome Project’s demonstration that race has no biologic or genetic basis, the field of medicine continues to use race in medical decision making.
This workshop explored racial bias using the race-based treatment recommendations for hypertension therapy as an example. Expert panels from the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks to the JNC have consistently recommended against the use of certain medications as monotherapy in African Americans. These recommendations are based on scant evidence of pathophysiologic differences in hypertension etiologies between the races. This interactive session aimed to give educators tools to address implicit bias as well as educate medical students, residents and colleagues about this lingering form of structural racism.