How Does Implicit Bias Affect YOUR Practice as a Dietitian?

The term implicit bias describes our attitudes towards people or the stereotypes we associate them with without our conscious knowledge. And this bias is a learned behavior in all people, predominantly white individuals. Like any other health professional, RDs are not immune to unconscious bias and how it impacts your effectiveness in professional practice. Implicit Bias Affects Your Practice as a Dietitian Although these implicit influences on your behavior are unconscious, it is still your responsibility to recognize and manage these biases. However, when you do not actively address internalized prejudice, it negatively impacts your practice as an RD. Negative consequences can include:

  • Difficulty serving clients/patients with different identities than your own

  • Consciously or unconsciously inflicting trauma upon clients/patients

  • Strained professional relationships with colleagues whose' different identities than your own

  • Maintaining race and identity-based gaps and inequities in nutrition care, education, and access

6 Steps to Identify and Address Your Implicit Bias To address your own implicit bias and improve your ability to provide effective, sensitive nutrition care. Follow these six steps:

  • Recognize and acknowledge your own implicit bias

  • Research and educate yourself about internalized bias and race and identity-based gaps and inequities in nutrition care

  • Educate your colleagues on your findings

  • Put what you've learned into practice, both professionally and personally

  • Advocate for unbiased dietetics education, nutrition research, health care practices, etc.

  • Repeat - because combating internalized bias is a lifetime of commitment

Resources for Addressing Implicit Bias Here are resources you can use on your journey you can utilize in addressing your implicit bias:

Written by: Allie Lansman (she/her), Iowa Academy I.D.E.A. Liaison INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, ACCESS - deieatrightiowa@gmail.com

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