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Implicit bias in healthcare: Maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in minority patients

Pathak, Ritambhara (2020) Implicit bias in healthcare: Maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in minority patients. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in the United States affecting maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in minority women. For example, African American and Alaska Native women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths compared to white women. An often-overlooked healthcare delivery system factor, implicit bias, has been identified as one of the components contributing to these healthcare disparities. Implicit bias in healthcare is of significant public health importance as over 60% of the observed pregnancy-related deaths were deemed preventable and premature births societal cost adds up to at least $26B per year. This essay is a literature review that focuses on disparate reproductive health outcomes in minority women and how implicit bias, such as decision making affects their healthcare.
Extensive peer-reviewed literature, reports, and media articles were used to address and highlight the effects of implicit bias on minority patients. All studies used for this research found significant inverse relationships between implicit bias and lower quality of care. California has already been leading the way to curb the state’s maternal mortality rates by investigating and identifying opportunities. Post implementation of initiatives, California observed reduction of maternal mortality rate in the US from 26.4 deaths to 7 deaths per 100,000 live births, declining maternal mortality rate by 55 percent. California has been setting an example for the rest of the country and now the state has passed a bill requiring continuing education implicit bias training for clinicians.
There is a compelling need for public health to take a deeper dive into improving health-related outcomes in this already vulnerable population. This literature review proposes recommendations to combat the rising rates of maternal and infant mortality by implementing mandatory bias training policies and increasing nationally mandated credible data collection. Identifying and implementing effective strategies to eliminate racial inequities in health status and medical care should be made a priority. The rest of the US should use California’s bill as a major step in the right direction and follow their lead.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pathak, Ritambhararip21@pitt.edurip21
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSabik, Lindsaylsabik@pitt.edulsabikUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMaseru, Noblenam137@pitt.edunam137UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberJarlenski, Marianmarian.jarlenski@pitt.edumpjUNSPECIFIED
Date: 2020
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 43
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MHA - Master of Health Administration
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2020 16:16
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2020 16:16


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