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Identifying and Overcoming Implicit Bias to Improve Patient Safety, Outcomes and Equity

About this event

Although “bias” is readily admitted by most individuals, the identification of “implicit” bias, as opposed to explicit bias, has been popularized in the last 15 years. In this session, Dr. Winston Wong will acknowledge the colloquial perception of bias, but will then introduce the concept of implicit bias as developed by researchers at Harvard University. Dr. Wong’s presentation will include an overview of implicit bias and a discussion of scenarios where clinical encounters are subject to its impact, along with the visual and linguistic components of implicit bias. Dr. Wong will use vivid examples of how implicit bias may surface in clinical settings, including common miscues and miscalculations. The potential harm and suboptimal care that results from implicit bias will also be described. Finally, Dr. Wong will conclude with potential modalities to mitigate the adverse impact of implicit bias in clinical encounters. In all circumstances, a sense of humility and deference is key to building trust and facilitating more gratifying and optimal patient interactions.

Who can attend

Registration is limited to ISMIE and SEMPIC policyholders, ISMS members, and their employed staff.

Learning objectives

At the conclusion of this learning activity, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the formation, function and role of implicit bias in human interactions
  • Identify the difference between explicit and implicit bias
  • Summarize the research and tests developed to validate implicit bias
  • Identify how implicit bias functions in both routine personal interactions and clinical encounters
  • Describe potential implicit bias in visual and linguistic (audio) encounters
  • Recognize hypothetical instances when implicit bias leads to suboptimal and damaging encounters
  • Identify strategies to employ to mitigate the negative impact of implicit bias

About the presenter

Winston Wong, MD, MS, FAAFP, is a Scholar in Residence at the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA. A fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice, Dr. Wong’s professional career has encompassed leadership roles at community health centers, federal service and most recently at Kaiser Permanente, where he served as Medical Director for Community Benefit for over 17 years. His commitment to addressing health equity is anchored by his experience as a bilingual primary care community health center physician for the Asian immigrant community in Oakland Chinatown, which led him to leadership roles in the United States Public Health Service, where he served as HRSA’s chief Clinical Officer for a region that spanned the Pacific and western United States. At Kaiser Permanente, he was responsible for its national philanthropic strategies to support clinical and population management initiatives with the safety net, and for its quality initiatives to address disparities within its 12 million membership.

In 2016 he was appointed to the US Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Minority Health, and in 2019 was appointed chair. At the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, he chairs the Roundtable on Health Equity, and has served on the Board of Population Health and Public Health Practice. As a leader in philanthropy, he has active board roles at the California Endowment and Grantmakers in Health. He also previously served as Board Chair for the School Based Health Alliance and is the current acting CEO and Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians. His work in developing programs and policies to address health equity has been recognized by awards from the California Primary Care Association, Latino Health Access, the Minority Health Foundation, Asian Health Services, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. In addition to his 2020 Scholar in Residence appointment at UCLA, Dr. Wong received a Doctor or Humane Letters from the A.T. Still University School of Osteopathic Medicine.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Illinois State Medical Society and ISMIE Mutual Insurance Company. The Illinois State Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation

The Illinois State Medical Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


There are no relevant financial relationships with ACCME-defined commercial interests for anyone who was in control of the content of this activity.

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