Received from the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, VA Health Services Research Center of Excellence (DJB, SSF, MVR), Section of General Internal Medicine (SSF), Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Department of Epidemiology, University of Minnesota School of Public Health (MVR); and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Minnesota (SSF, DJB), Minneapolis, Minn.
Why Do Providers Contribute to Disparities and What Can Be Done About It?
Article first published online: 12 NOV 2004
Journal of General Internal Medicine
Volume 19, Issue 11, pages 1154–1159, November 2004
How to Cite
Burgess, D. J., Fu, S. S. and Van Ryn, M. (2004), Why Do Providers Contribute to Disparities and What Can Be Done About It?. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 19: 1154–1159. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.30227.x
- Issue published online: 12 NOV 2004
- Article first published online: 12 NOV 2004
- provider behavior;
- social cognition
This paper applies social cognition research to understanding and ameliorating the provider contribution to racial/ethnic disparities in health care. We discuss how fundamental cognitive mechanisms such as automatic, unconscious processes (e.g., stereotyping) can help explain provider bias. Even well-intentioned providers who are motivated to be nonprejudiced may stereotype racial/ethnic minority members, particularly under conditions of that diminish cognitive capacity. These conditions—time pressure, fatigue, and information overload—are frequently found in health care settings. We conclude with implications of the social-cognitive perspective for developing interventions to reduce provider bias.