“What are you?”
Explore this issueMay 2017
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A faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine posed this question to a resident while attending rounds. Both were portraying a scene involving micro-aggression during Differences Matter, a three-day orientation for first-year medical students.
On the program’s first day, students are introduced to unconscious bias and micro-aggressions, which are dismissive or insensitive questions or phrases physicians unintentionally say to patients, students or trainees based on their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or religious background. Students then spend the next two days developing relationship-centered communication skills, such as how to greet patients respectfully and ask open-ended questions to help make each patient encounter more productive and emotionally comfortable.