Bias in Healthcare

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Medical experts want to treat everyone equally, but implicit bias can shape their treatment recommendations. Learn how doctors can subvert their bias to make medical treatment equitable.


Zhang, L., Reynolds Losin, E. A., Ashar, Y. K., Koban, L., & Wager, T. D. (2021). Gender bias in estimation of others’ pain. The Journal of Pain, 22(9), 1048-1059.

Schäfer, G., Prkachin, K. M., Kaseweter, K. A., & de C Williams, A. C. (2016). Health care providers’ judgments in chronic pain: the influence of gender and trustworthiness. Pain, 157(8), 1618-1625.

Morden, N. D., Chyn, D., Wood, A., & Meara, E. (2021). Racial inequality in prescription opioid receipt – Role of individual health systems. New England Journal of Medicine, 385, 342-351.


“Bias in Healthcare” was created and developed by Olivia Kang, Alex Sanchez, Evan Younger, Caitlyn Finton, and Mahzarin Banaji. Support for Outsmarting Human Minds comes from Harvard University and PwC.

Narration by Olivia Kang.

Animation and Editing by Evan Younger.

Images by Olivia Kang and Evan Younger, and adapted via Unsplash.

Music by Terry Devine-King, John Ashton Thomas, and Philip Guyler via Audio Network.

© 2021 President and Fellows of Harvard College