To be credentialed by Michigan’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, physicians in the state must now undergo “implicit bias” training.
In a May 11 workshop entitled “Intersectionality: Examining Concepts of Privilege,” participants were given readings and videos to review. One such reading was a book entitled, “Racism Literally Makes You Sick.” In the book, author Mary-Frances Winters offers a “narrative reframing” of how Black people should view “racism” in health care. Some examples include the following:
- Instead of saying “being Black is exhausting,” Winters suggests rephrasing that as “racism is exhausting.”
- Instead of saying, “Black people are more prone to certain diseases. It is inevitable,” Winters suggest it is better to think “systemic racism affects my health. I need to understand the influence of white supremacy on my well-being and not internalize it.”
- Instead of saying “I do not go to doctors because I do not trust them,” Winters tells readers to think, “I will seek out a Black doctor who I might feel more comfortable with.”
In summary, Winters states “racism is a significant factor contributing to health disparities that affect Black people.”
The workshop also had participants take an “Anonymous Qualtrics Privilege Activity Survey.” The survey then listed seven different identities: ability, class, gender, nationality, race, religion, and sexuality. Participants were then asked to review a set of statements to identify “privilege” within each of the groups. For example, one privilege listed was traveling with family outside of the country as a child.