Cultural competency, race, and skin tone bias among pharmacy, nursing, and medical students

Implications for addressing health disparities

Shelley White-Means, Dong Zhiyong Dong, Meghan Hufstader, Lawrence T. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Institute of Medicine report, Unequal Treatment, asserts that conscious and unconscious bias of providers may affect treatments delivered and contribute to health disparities. The primary study objective is to measure, compare, and contrast objective and subjective cognitive processes among pharmacy, nursing, and medical students to discern potential implications for health disparities. Data were collected using a cultural competency questionnaire and two implicit association tests (IATs). Race and skin tone IATs measure unconscious bias. Cultural competency scores were significantly higher for non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics in medicine and pharmacy compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Multiracial nursing students also had significantly higher cultural competency scores than non-Hispanic Whites. The IAT results indicate that these health care preprofessionals exhibit implicit race and skin tone biases: preferences for Whites versus Blacks and light skin versus dark skin. Cultural competency curricula and disparities research will be advanced by understanding the factors contributing to cultural competence and bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-455
Number of pages20
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009

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Pharmacy Students
Cultural Competency
Skin Pigmentation
Nursing Students
Medical Students
Health
Skin
National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (U.S.) Health and Medicine Division
Hispanic Americans
Curriculum
Medicine
Delivery of Health Care
Light
Therapeutics
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy

Cite this

Cultural competency, race, and skin tone bias among pharmacy, nursing, and medical students : Implications for addressing health disparities. / White-Means, Shelley; Zhiyong Dong, Dong; Hufstader, Meghan; Brown, Lawrence T.

In: Medical Care Research and Review, Vol. 66, No. 4, 01.08.2009, p. 436-455.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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