LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive Thursday which directs the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to begin developing rules that will require implicit bias training as part of the knowledge and skills necessary for licensure, registration and renewal of licenses and registrations of health professionals in Michigan.

Implicit bias training was one of the recommendations made by the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities, which Governor Whitmer created in response to the devastating and disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on communities of color.

“COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on people of color due to a variety of factors, and we must do everything we can to address this disparity. The evidence shows that training in implicit bias can make a positive difference, so today we are taking action to help improve racial equity across Michigan’s health care system,” said Whitmer. 

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II is chair of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities. Gilchrist said the existing health disparities highlighted during the coronavirus pandemic have made it clear that there is more work to do to ensure people of color have the same access to the same quality of health care as everyone else.

“By providing awareness to health care workers on how to recognize and mitigate implicit bias, we can help them carry out their mission of providing the best health care to every patient they serve,” said Gilchrist. 

Under the executive directive, LARA is required to consult with relevant stakeholders in the medical profession, in state government and elsewhere in the community by November 1, 2020 to help determine relevant goals and concerns under the new rules.

LARA will work in collaboration with the relevant professional boards and task forces to promulgate the rules.

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