Confidence, Connection & Collaboration: Creating a Scalable Bias Reduction Improvement Coaching Train-the-Trainer Program to Mitigate Implicit Bias across a Medical Center

Teach Learn Med. 2023 Apr 19:1-18. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2023.2201289. Online ahead of print.


Problem: Academic medical centers need to mitigate the negative effects of implicit bias with approaches that are empirically-based, scalable, sustainable, and specific to departmental needs. Guided by Kotter's Model of Change to create and sustain cultural change, we developed the Bias Reduction Improvement Coaching Program (BRIC), a two-year, train-the-trainer implicit bias coaching program designed to meet the increasing demand for bias training across a university medical center. Intervention: BRIC trained a cohort of faculty and staff as coaches during four quarterly training sessions in Year 1 that covered 1) the science of bias, 2) bias in selection and hiring, 3) bias in mentoring, and 4) bias in promotion, retention, and workplace culture. In Year 2, coaches attended two booster sessions and delivered at least two presentations. BRIC raises awareness of bias mitigation strategies in a scalable way by uniquely building capacity through department-level champions, providing programming that addresses the 'local context,' and setting a foundation for sustained institutional change. Context: In a U.S. academic medical center, 27 faculty and staff from 24 departments were trained as inaugural BRIC coaches. We assessed outcomes at multiple levels: BRIC coach outcomes (feedback on the training sessions; coach knowledge, attitudes, and skills), departmental-level outcomes (program attendee feedback, knowledge, and intentions) and institutional outcomes (activities to sustain change). Impact: After Year 1, coaches reported high satisfaction with BRIC and a statistically significant increase in self-efficacy in their abilities to recognize, mitigate, and teach about implicit bias. In Year 2, attendees at BRIC coach presentations reported an increase in bias mitigation knowledge, and the majority committed to taking follow-up action (e.g., taking an Implicit Association Test). Coaches also launched activities for sustaining change at the broader university and beyond. Lessons Learned: The BRIC Program indicates a high level of interest in receiving bias mitigation training, both among individuals who applied to be BRIC coaches and among presentation attendees. BRIC's initial success supports future expansion. The model appears scalable and sustainable; future efforts will formalize the emerging community of practice around bias mitigation and measure elements of on-going institutional culture change.

Keywords: Implicit bias; bias mitigation; faculty development; train-the-trainer.