Implicit bias instruction across disciplines related to the social determinants of health: a scoping review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Advances in health sciences education : theory and practice




Curriculum development; Health disparities; Health equity; Implicit bias; Scoping review


One criticism of published curricula addressing implicit bias is that few achieve skill development in implicit bias recognition and management (IBRM). To inform the development of skills-based curricula addressing IBRM, we conducted a scoping review of the literature inquiring, "What interventions exist focused on IBRM in professions related to social determinants of health: education, law, social work, and the health professions inclusive of nursing, allied health professions, and medicine?"Authors searched eight databases for articles published from 2000 to 2020. Included studies: (1) described interventions related to implicit bias; and (2) addressed knowledge, attitude and/or skills as outcomes. Excluded were interventions solely focused on reducing/neutralizing implicit bias. Article review for inclusion and data charting occurred independently and in duplicate. Investigators compared characteristics across studies; data charting focused on educational and assessment strategies. Fifty-one full-text articles for data charting and synthesis, with more than 6568 learners, were selected. Educational strategies included provocative/engagement triggers, the Implicit Association Test, reflection and discussion, and various active learning strategies. Most assessments were self-report, with fewer objective measures. Eighteen funded studies utilized federal, foundation, institutional, and private sources. This review adds to the literature by providing tangible examples of curricula to complement existing frameworks, and identifying opportunities for further research in innovative skills-based instruction, learner assessment, and development and validation of outcome metrics. Continued research addressing IBRM would enable learners to develop and practice skills to recognize and manage their implicit biases during clinical encounters, thereby advancing the goal of improved, equitable patient outcomes.