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Addressing Implicit Bias to Improve the Engagement and Retention Rate of the Under-Represented Minorities in Substance Use Treatment.

Abstract Background: Racial and ethnic minorities' care for substance use disorder is negatively affected by biases, prejudices, and stereotypes in healthcare. This has created a general mistrust of the healthcare system and has constituted a barrier preventing minority patients from seeking care. Implicit biases are harmful, and this project aimed to bring awareness to this issue through educational activities to empower nurses in recognizing the problem. Methods: Twelve nurse-care managers in an outpatient addictions treatment clinic volunteered to participate in an educational session on implicit bias and its impact on the healthcare environment. The training involved an interactive presentation utilizing an implicit bias test and case studies to guide the discussion. In addition, pre and post presentation surveys were used to determine the impact of the training on the perceptions, opinions, and attitudes of the project participants. Results: Despite most of the project participants stating that they did not have implicit biases, six agreed that awareness of biases could help improve healthcare outcomes for underrepresented minorities. Only one strongly disagreed that awareness of implicit biases could improve outcomes for patients from underrepresented minorities. Conclusion: There was a lack of awareness of implicit biases among participants, indicating the need to implement evidence-based practices to provide culturally appropriate care and services to diverse patients. Also, more education is needed in healthcare workplaces to make the care providers understand how implicit bias affects the health outcomes of marginalized groups.