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February 10, 2012

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More than 400 MGH Institute students, faculty, and staff packed historic Old Faneuil Hall on February 7 to hear five experts discuss how to recognize and prevent bias when treating patients.

“Unconscious Bias: How It Affects Our Interactions and Decisions in Providing Care,” was the topic of the 2012 Interprofessional Rounds. The yearly event is for first and second year students in nursing, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology to come together to gain a better understanding of how they can integrate with other professionals to provide more comprehensive patient care.

Host for the event was Associate Provost for Academic Affairs BA Harris, DPT, MS, who also is interim director of the Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation, the school’s innovative idea incubator that hosted the event.

“Everyone has inherent biases, yet when working with our patients these biases should not influence the care we provide,” Dr. Harris told the audience. “We all need to recognize these challenges to provide the best possible care.”

Speakers presented several case studies in which they described ways in which they had dealt with and solved bias issues during their years of practice.

Speakers for the evening were:

  • Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation Professor Anthony Guarino, PhD;
  • School of Nursing Clinical Assistant Professor Gail Gall, APRN, BC;
  • School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Associate Professor Regina Doherty, OTD, MS, OTR/L;
  • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Assistant Professor Carmen Vega-Barachowitz, PhD, CCC-SLP, Director of the Department Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital; and
  • Joyce Shapiro Gordon, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist who works at Mass General.

As the students left the Revolutionary War-era building after the 90-minute event, it was clear they came away with new insights.

“I thought it was a great topic that can be applied across the board to all students,” said Jencie McDavid, a second-year Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program student.

“It made me reflect on how I will treat patients in the future,” noted Dawn Nathanson, a second-year student in the Master of Science in Nursing program.

Added Keith Liao, a first-year Entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy student, “It opened up a lot thoughts on things I hadn’t considered before, and it was fun for all of us to come to Faneuil Hall and listen to a great presentation.”

Student Contest
Students can win a cash prize for submitting an essay or video that discusses the topics presented during the 2012 Interprofessional Rounds. Submission guidelines and selection criteria are available at the Center for Interprofessional Studies and Innovation web page.

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