Unconscious Bias: Addressing the Hidden Impact on Surgical Education

Leah M. Backhus, Natalie S. Lui, David T. Cooke, Errol Bush, Zachary Enumah, Robert Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Unconscious (or implicit) biases are learned stereotypes that are automatic, unintentional, deeply engrained, universal, and able to influence behavior. Several studies have documented the effects of provider biases on patient care and outcomes. This article provides a framework for exploring the implications for unconscious bias in surgical education and highlights best practices toward minimizing its impact. Presented is the background related to some of the more common unconscious biases and effects on medical students, resident trainees, and academic faculty. Finally, targeted strategies are highlighted for individuals and institutions for identification of biases and the means to address them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-267
Number of pages9
JournalThoracic surgery clinics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Bias training
  • Disparities
  • Hidden brain
  • Implicit bias
  • Unconscious bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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