Webinar Series: Deconstructing Unconscious Bias in Behavioral Health Care

Unconscious Bias Webinar Series


This series was developed to provide professionals with a review of implicit (i.e. unconscious) bias and how it negatively affects communications, interactions, decision-making and service outcomes for racial and ethnic communities; and offer tools and approaches to address, mitigate and diminish the effects of unconscious bias in the addiction, mental health, and prevention disciplines in order to collectively affect equitable outcomes for persons of color. 

Participants may join any or all of the sessions listed below. Each session will include ample time for discussion and Q & A. 


Session 1: Origins of Unconscious Bias | Thursday, August 27, 1:00-2:30 pm ET

Behavioral health disparities reflect the lack of access to quality care for specific populations. Despite notable efforts to address inequitable outcomes, research suggests that race and ethnicity are predictors of how services are delivered, and unconscious bias is one component that has been identified as influencing the provision of poor care. With the steady rise of the US population and the expected increase in communities of color, the need to address behavioral health disparities has never been more urgent. This first session of the four-part series will discuss how cognitive bias develops, how it is sustained by intrinsic and environmental factors, and how it contributes to inequitable outcomes for persons of color in behavioral health care. 



Session 2: Making the Case to Idenify Not Blame | Thursday, September 3, 1:00-2:30 pm ET

Building off the psychological framework of unconscious bias as discussed in the first session, this second presentation will review and inform on how unconscious bias is reflected in words, communications, and relations toward persons of color through case scenarios reflecting its impact in the addiction, mental health, and prevention settings. The elusiveness of cognitive bias underscores provider assumptions and perceptions and affect judgment that leads to prejudice, micro-aggressions, and even discriminatory practices in care. The discussion will also identify commonly experienced pressures of personal and ‘on the job’ stress, and other bias risk factors that affect decision making, interactions, and client/patient outcomes in behavioral health. 



Session 3: Dismantling Bias and Building Equity | Thursday, September 10, 1:00-2:30 pm ET

In the first two sessions, we define and describe the impact of unconscious bias on cognition and provider practice, as well as how it contributes to behavioral health disparities. This third session will offer practical tools and strategies for organizations and providers to identify and address unconscious bias and support the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). Discussion will present action steps that providers can take to explore and diffuse personal bias, and further inform on how integrating cultural humility in practice minimizes unconscious bias using a process-oriented approach to care consequently increasing behavioral health equity. 



Session 4: Learning from the Field | Thursday, September 17, 1:00-2:30 pm ET

This fourth session will bring together a panel of direct service providers who work closely with communities of color and are actively engaged in facilitating strategies that identify and mitigate unconscious bias to ensure delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Organizational leadership will speak to lessons learned in the implementation of effective protocols to help reduce racial and ethnic disparities and improve service outcomes for people of color. 


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