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Whitmer Says Anti-Bias Training Will Be Required For Health Licenses

Doctor's Office
Pixabay Creative Commons

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a directive that will require health care professionals to be trained in ways to guard against bias as a condition of being licensed or re-licensed to practice. She said that will include courses offered by state-licensed medical schools.

“I’ve asked our medical partners to incorporate implicit bias training into the curriculum, as people of color seek health care, they’ll be treated with equal dignity and respect, which will yield better outcomes,” Whitmer said.

The governor said the problem is not new, but she said statistics that show differences in rates of coronavirus infections and deaths are stark proof that it exists.

“This virus has shined a light on the staggering health disparities that black Michiganders have faced long before COVID-19 ever hit our state,” Whitmer said.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist leads a task force that’s examining the racial disparities in coronavirus infections and deaths. He says disparities in health care existed before the crisis. But COVID-19 has shown the need to make changes.

“We have an opportunity -- those of us who are working and living and leading today, we have that opportunity to be that different set of people who make a different set of choices, that establish a new set of systems and a different framework and a different paradigm that can lead to a different set of more-equitable outcomes,” said Gilchrist.


Governor Whitmer also warned tougher restrictions may return as the number of COVID-19 cases in Michigan trend in the wrong direction. She said an announcement could be coming soon on enforcement of mask and social distancing requirements.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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