Course challenges medical students to avoid biases in decision making
People are inclined to be biased, which helps them to process information and make judgments quickly. Biases are learned and not based on evidence but on assumptions; they exist in the medical world as well as the wider world. A course at Upstate is designed to help students in medical training challenge their biases, says Amy Caruso Brown, MD, a pediatric cancer specialist and an associate professor of bioethics and humanities. The course she teaches includes a comprehensive checklist (click here to see the list) that asks students to consider whether the medical judgments they make and the information they are dealing with are based not on facts but on biases about age, sex, sexual orientation, race, social stigma or other factors. The goal is to help these future health care providers learn how to make sound medical decisions when they deal with patients.