The time is now: addressing implicit bias in obstetrics and gynecology education

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2023 Apr;228(4):369-381. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2022.12.016. Epub 2022 Dec 20.


Obstetrician-gynecologists can improve the learning environment and patient care by addressing implicit bias. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that racial and gender-based discrimination is woven into medical education, formal curricula, patient-provider-trainee interactions in the clinical workspace, and all aspects of learner assessment. Implicit bias negatively affects learners in every space. Strategies to address implicit bias at the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural level to improve the well-being of learners and patients are needed. The authors review an approach to addressing implicit bias in obstetrics and gynecology education, which includes: (1) curricular design using an educational framework of antiracism and social justice theories, (2) bias awareness and management pedagogy throughout the curriculum, (3) elimination of stereotypical patient descriptions from syllabi and examination questions, and (4) critical review of epidemiology and evidence-based medicine for underlying assumptions based on discriminatory practices or structural racism that unintentionally reinforce stereotypes and bias. The movement toward competency-based medical education and holistic evaluations may result in decreased bias in learner assessment. Educators may wish to monitor grades and narratives for bias as a form of continuous educational equity improvement. Given that practicing physicians may have little training in this area, faculty development efforts in bias awareness and mitigation strategies may have significant impact on learner well-being.

Keywords: bias mitigation strategies; implicit bias; medical education; medical students; racism; residents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Bias, Implicit
  • Curriculum
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics*
  • Pregnancy