Whitmer’s ‘implicit bias’ training pushes Michigan health workers to admit bias, to ‘get out of your comfort zone’ Geopolitics News

Whitmer’s ‘implicit bias’ training pushes Michigan health workers to admit bias, to ‘get out of your comfort zone’

An ‘implicit bias’ training session mandated by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer encourages healthcare workers to admit they are biased and teaches them that black people, overweight women and people with surnames non-Westerns are among those who face obstacles to success in America.

It also asks participants in the training session to identify their closest colleagues and then describe their race, ethnicity and physical appearance in an attempt to make them aware that their choice of company in the workplace can reveal biases and encourage them to “get out of your comfort zone.”

Those elements and more are found in a course designed for healthcare workers who care for Michigan veterans, according to a PowerPoint presentation obtained by TOU Digital from a staff member who took it. The course is the result of an action Whitmer took in 2021 to require implicit bias training under the Public Health Code as a “condition of obtaining an initial license or registration as well as ‘a license or registration renewal’.

The PowerPoint lists several examples of how biases can impact the workplace based on identities and physical appearances. Employees are told that people with non-Western names must submit 30% more resumes to stay competitive with job applicants with Western names, that black Americans have a two to three times higher risk of kidney failure and that minority patients are less likely to receive painkillers than white patients.


An initiative by Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, center, forced state Veterans Administration employees to take a three-hour ‘unconscious bias’ course about needed diversity and equity to retain their medical license, according to internal documents shared with TOU Digital. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)

He states that women are paid less in America, the more they weigh.

“In the United States and other Western countries, for every 1% increase in a woman’s body mass, there is a 0.5% decrease in salary,” a slide reads.

Moreover, he indicates that companies tend to hire tall men as CEOs. “Specifically, 58% of male CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are taller than 180 centimeters. 14.5% of American men are over 6 feet tall,” another slide read.

The “Unconscious Bias: Understanding Bias to Unleash Potential” training for the Michigan Veterans Affairs (VA) office required a comprehensive pre-test, attendance at a three-hour training session, and course evaluation for employees to receive the certification required to maintain their medical license.

In another section, participants are asked to write down their identity and the identity of their closest colleagues to analyze how their biases may impact their performance.


“On a sheet of paper, list your 5 closest professional relationships,” a PowerPoint slide reads before asking participants to tick boxes for their identity, which included age group, color, level of education , expertise, marital status, gender, national origin, personality, physical ability, physical appearance, political opinions, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation/identity, and socio-economic status.

“What do I notice about the people I choose to connect with?” it takes. ““What did I notice about my network?”

Do No Harm, a group of medical professionals working to “protect health care from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology,” obtained the document from a Michigan VA medical worker. Laura Morgan, the group’s program director, said she’s heard from medical workers across the country that diversity and bias trainings are contributing to burnout in an industry with sub-emergency levels. -staff.

Morgan said she quit her job as a nurse when she had to take implicit bias training.

“If you or I were to go to the ER, we would want our medical team to assess us and take action to save us,” Morgan told TOU Digital. “Not stopping at decision-making and thinking, ‘I better not approach them until I check my implicit biases at the door. It’s just absurd.”


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is considered a rising star in her party.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is considered a rising star in her party. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File)

Michigan’s submission rejects the idea that implicit bias training is divisive.


“FRAME: If I confront prejudice, it will only create more division,” one slide read. “REFRAME: When I effectively confront bias, I create a space where we are all valued and able to do our best.”

“FRAME: If I understand my biases, I can correct them myself,” reads another slide. “REFRAME: It’s only when I cultivate meaningful connections that I can see the prejudices of the past and value the people around me.”

Whitmer’s Rule, which came into effect in 2022, defines implicit bias as “an internalized attitude or stereotype that affects an individual’s perception, action, or decision-making in an unconscious way and often contributes to a unequal treatment of people because of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, age, disability or any other characteristic.

Whitmer’s ‘implicit bias’ training pushes Michigan health workers to admit bias, to ‘get out of your comfort zone’

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