Learn to employ cultural humility


Many health care providers are guilty of having implicit or unconscious biases against patients, which can negatively affect the care they give. “Once providers come to this realization, they can make a conscious effort to neutralize these biases from manifesting throughout a practice,” said Aziz Ansari, DO, SFHM, associate chief medical officer, Clinical Optimization and Revenue Integrity, and associate professor of medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Ill., who will present today’s session “Winning Hearts and Minds at the Bedside: Battling Unconscious Bias Through Cultural Humility.”

Dr. Aziz Ansari

Dr. Aziz Ansari

By practicing cultural humility, hospitalists can gain trust from patients and their families, whom they do not know in their everyday practice. This encourages providers to be humble, ascertain what is important to the patient, and learn from every patient encounter.

The session will begin with a case study involving bias, followed by a self-reflection exercise. To determine whether you may be biased against some patient groups, Dr. Ansari recommends taking the online implicit association test at

As a palliative care specialist, Dr. Ansari has repeatedly faced situations in which a lack of cultural humility caused patients or their family member to foster mistrust toward a provider. Consequently, patients and family members may choose aggressive measures that providers might consider futile.

Dr. Ansari also will define what implicit or unconscious biases entail in greater detail. The discussion will then circle back to the original case and reveal how providers can improve their mindset when facing difficult situations by employing a tool called “The 5 Rs of Cultural Humility,” which include reflection, respect, regard, relevance, and resiliency.

Dr. Ansari spearheaded the development of the 5 Rs tool when he chaired the Cultural Humility Workgroup of SHM’s Practice Management Committee. “The goal is to use the tool to attain cultural humility and transform a potentially negative encounter into a gratifying one,” he said.

At a minimum, attendees should take time during the session to reflect on their own thoughts and biases. “This introspection can bring to light practices that providers may have been unaware of and, ultimately, can change their behaviors so every patient and their family feels that they are being seen and heard,” Dr. Ansari said. “In today’s current climate it is more important than ever for providers to self-reflect on their attitudes and perceptions because an increasing number of groups in our diverse society are feeling more marginalized.”

Winning Hearts and Minds at the Bedside: Battling Unconscious Bias Through Cultural Humility
Wednesday, 9:10-9:50 a.m.
​Crystal Ballroom G2/C-F

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