Academic and Community Partnerships

By: Claudia Leiras   Alisha Davis  

Microaggressions are often unconscious statements that affirm stereotypes and are commonly used by dominant/non-target groups to classify individuals in target groups. When used in health care, they can create a greater disparity in health outcomes between white populations and communities of color. Additionally, minorities are constantly exposed to a stigmatizing and discriminating environment due to the messages of the dominant society. It is within the above context, that the investigators through an academic-community collaboration developed and conducted an evidence-based three-part training curriculum for community organization representatives in a deprived, underserved community. The organizations represented varied from those involved in direct patient care (hospitals and primary care practices) to those focusing on community outreach and community engagement for a host of health issues, including, but not limited to offering outpatient mental health services and elderly resources. The three-part training focused on (1) unconscious bias and disparities; (2) exploring microaggressions on a personal and societal level; and (3) intersection of microaggressions, health disparities, and the cultural competency continuum. Participants (n=110) were engaged in several activities to explore their own unconscious bias and microaggressions as well as those of their respective organization. A qualitative analysis grounded in phenomenology was performed identifying the lived experiences of these healthcare workers and their respective healthcare organizations. Post-training evaluations revealed a greater sense of one’s owns unconscious bias and microaggressions and how those impacted client interactions. Awareness is a crucial first step in decreasing and eliminating the health disparity gap.

Microaggressions, Unconscious bias, Academic-community collaboration
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Claudia Leiras

Associate Professor, Allied Health Sciences, Grand Valley State University, United States
United States

Alisha Davis

Assistant Professor, Grand Valley State University, United States
United States