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WATCH: Whitmer, Gilchrist announce implicit bias training guidelines

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Posted at 8:57 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 14:08:44-04

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced on Tuesday the state's guidelines for implicit bias training.

The governor had signed an executive directive last year creating the task force on racial disparities.

Watch the announcement here:

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs adopted new administrative rules that require implicit bias training as part of the knowledge of skills necessary for the licensure or registration of health care professionals in Michigan.

Tuesday's announcement caps almost 11 months of collaboration and engagement with licensees, insurance providers, hospitals, health care associations, legislators, state agencies, high education and community and advocacy groups.

Today's new training guidelines will help us mitigate the impacts of implicit bias and ensure every patient in Michigan receives the best possible care," Whitmer said. "These rules will save lives and improve health outcomes for generations of Michiganders, especially those who have been historically and systematically discriminated against. They will make Michigan safer, healthier and more just."

Gilchrist says implicit, unconscious bias exists in everyone.

"The health disparities highlighted during the pandemic made it clear that there is more work to do to ensure that bias does not prevent people of color from experiencing the same access to quality, equitable health care as everyone else," Gilchrist said. "Today's new rules, which were a key recommendation of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, are additional building blocks that will help us create a culture of responsive inclusion that will make state government and the practice of medical professions in Michigan a national model for equality, understanding and fairness."

New applicants for licensure or registration will need to complete at least two hours of training, and applicants for renewal will need to complete at least one hour of training every year.

The annual training curriculum can cover a variety of topics related to implicit bias but must incorporate strategies to reduce disparities, including the administration of self-assessments.

Michigan currently licenses more than 400,000 health care professionals.

Those health care professionals will need to receive annual training on implicit bias.

The new requirement will be effective June 1, 2022, giving training sponsors time to develop courses and applicants an opportunity to take training before their next renewal date.

Implicit bias training may be sponsored by a nationally or state recognized health-related organization, an accredited college or university, a state or federal agency, a continuing education program approved by a state licensing board or an organization specializing in diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

Read the full text of the new requirements here.