Abstract Background: There has been renewed focus on advancing inclusivity within organized medicine to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity by addressing the deleterious effects of implicit bias in healthcare and clinical outcomes. It is well documented that negative implicit attitudes and stereotypes perpetuate inequity in healthcare. The aim of this study is to investigate implicit bias training in postgraduate physician assistant (PA) and nurse practitioner (NP) education; describe delivery of content to trainees; and detail program directors’ attitudes toward this type of training. Although there is research examining implicit bias training in physician residency education, there are no published studies on implicit bias training in postgraduate PA and NP postgraduate residency/fellowship programs.
Method: A non-experimental, descriptive study was designed to obtain information via survey from members of the Association of Postgraduate Physician Assistant Programs (APPAP).
Results: The response rate was 41%. The majority of respondents (76%) felt that PA and NP postgraduate programs should include implicit bias instruction. Educational strategies used by PA and joint PA/NP postgraduate programs or their sponsoring institution to deliver implicit bias content to trainees include: implicit bias training modules (50%), facilitated group discussions (36%), invited speaker on implicit bias (33%), case studies on implicit bias (16%), and implicit association test (10%); however, 30% of postgraduate programs do not provide implicit bias training to PA and/or NP trainees. Barriers to implementing implicit bias training expressed by some postgraduate programs include: uncertainty in how to incorporate implicit bias training (16%); lack of strategic alignment with training program or sponsoring institution (13%); time constraints (10%); financial constraints (6%); lack of access to content experts (6%); and unfamiliarity with evidence supporting implicit bias training (6%).
Conclusion: The present study sheds some light on the current state of implicit bias training in PA and joint PA/NP postgraduate residency/fellowship programs. While the majority of programs offer some sort of implicit bias training, there is a need to standardize this training in PA and joint PA/NP postgraduate education curricula using an actionable framework.