News & Media

What to Expect from Governor Whitmer’s Implicit Bias Training Directive

Thursday, July 16, 2020

As part of her response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact the virus has on people of color, Governor Whitmer earlier this week issued Executive Directive 2020-7, requiring health professionals to take implicit bias training.

Thus far, COVID-19 is more than four times more prevalent among black patients than among white patients. The hope is this disparity can be reduced through training designed to address unconscious bias by medical professionals.

As dictated by the directive, the Michigan Department of Legal and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is required to consult with relevant stakeholders—including the Michigan State Medical Society—by November 1, 2020 to help determine relevant goals and concerns under the new rule. Through this process, MSMS will advocate for a flexible curriculum that allows any continuing medical education (CME) provider—such as local hospitals—to provide the required programming.

It will be at least a year before any new rules are officially promulgated, and even longer before any required training is developed and offered. In years past, any new mandated continuing medical education has had at least a three-year roll out.

Despite that long horizon, there are CME opportunities on racial inequality and implicit bias in the near term that our members can take advantage of, including:

All of these CME opportunities were scheduled before Governor Whitmer issued her directive, and we encourage physicians and providers to participate in any these trainings. However, please note that they may not count toward any relicensure requirements, which will likely be dictated by official start associated with this new training requirement that has yet to be determined.