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State Requires Anti-Bias Training for Health Professionals

State Requires Anti-Bias Training for Health Professionals

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Some 400,000 health professionals licensed through the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will need to undergo training on implicit bias to obtain or renew their license starting in June 2022 under rules announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday, June 1.

As reported in Gongwer News Service, a daily publication that covers state government, these new rules complete an effort the Whitmer administration launched in the middle of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic underscored longstanding problems in health care for racial and ethnic minorities.  Details on the new rules are available here on the MSMS website.

"We all have some form of implicit bias,” the Governor said at her news conference on Tuesday.  “And we've got to acknowledge that and use proven methods to lessen the impact of that bias that we all bring to the table."

This rule making process was initiated last year.  On July 9, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Directive requiring the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to develop rules to implement implicit bias training for licensees in 26 health care professions.

Following the Governor’s directive, the Department conducted two Implicit Bias Training Advisory Workgroups to obtain the diverse perspectives of licensed health professionals, professional associations, health care providers, public officials, state agency partners, academia, and community leaders.  LARA then convened three subgroups - Implementation, Scope of Training, and Vendors & Partnerships.  MSMS, along with numerous stakeholders, participated in these meetings.

As part of this process, MSMS shared information demonstrating Michigan as an outlier in requiring physicians to complete more hours of CME than other states, current mandated CME requirements, and MSMS’s policy opposing compulsory content regardless of merit.  On March 9, 2021, MSMS submitted official comments on the proposed implicit bias training rules as part of the public comment process.

“MSMS has been engaged in this conversation with the state and others throughout the health care sector for many months,” said Pino D. Colone, MD, President of the Michigan State Medical Society.  “The impacts of this issue are real, and while we advocated in our meetings and in public comments that we did not believe it was necessary for this training to be mandated, we stand firmly with all our colleagues is stating that bias of any kind has no place in the practice of medicine.”

Past MSMS communications on Implicit Bias rules can be found here: