Improving Ourselves and Enhancing Services: Addressing Unconscious Bias in Health Sciences*

Well done! You successfully read this important alert message.

This session will define and identify implicit bias with a focus on racial disparities in scholarly health sciences research, help attendees identify implicit bias in health sciences libraries systems and services, and provide attendees with tools to identify and address implicit bias in themselves. The active learning activities will help attendees learn how to identify resources to craft research questions and search queries that address implicit bias in Health Sciences literature and research. This webinar will provide a foundation for information professionals to better serve and address the needs of the diverse communities that their institutions serve. There will be an introduction of the terms used in the webinar and agreement on definitions in the presentation, followed by an active learning presentation and opportunities for participants to engage with the knowledge presented, as well as with their peers. During the workshop, participants will break for a number of active learning activities with small groups, and with the entire group.  To target different learning styles and different skill levels, activities include options for writing experiences and individual self-reflection as well as group based learning exercises for skill improvement using various tools and databases. Along with personal growth focused activities, participants will be invited to engage with the presenters and each other in information skill building experiences.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define implicit bias and identify bias in scholarly health sciences research
  2. Identify implicit bias in health sciences libraries systems and services
  3. Recognize and address implicit bias in professional health care settings
  4. Identify approaches to address personal and professional implicit biases
  5. Develop tools to address implicit bias in professional services and resources


120 Minute Run Time


Introducing ourselves and the workshop (5 minutes)

What is bias --> let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.
The Harvard Implicit Bias test

Harvard Implicit Association Bias Test  (20 minutes)

Introduction to HIAT (5 minutes)

Live Poll about tests taken (5 minutes)

Group discussion about test results (10 minutes)

 Bias on Both Sides Activity (30 minutes)

Write out biases that they have experienced in chat (5 minutes)

Read through chat, highlight examples (5 minutes)

Ask participants to break into groups and describe bias that they’ve experienced and how those experiences affected them (10 minutes)

 Bring small group back together, then send them to different small groups and ask them to think about if they’ve seen LIBRARY USERS experience any of the biases they discussed and to discuss how that might affect Library users (10 minutes)

Large Group Discussion (10 minutes)

 Are there common themes?
 Do these affect perceptions of libraries or patrons experience in libraries?

Implicit bias in health sciences research (10 minutes)

Lecture and slides

Live searching activity (30 minutes)

Split into small groups, for 2 of the four different scenarios. Each group makes their search strategy. (5 minutes)

Each group presents their search strategy and the group then evaluates search, with an emphasis on the bias in the presented research (and possible the search itself). (5 min per group)

Health sciences resources vs. consumer health resources will be explored and differences in approach highlighted (5 minutes)

Reference Interviews (15 minutes)

What kinds of questions do we need to ask to address our own biases and researchers bias’? (5 mins)
Search terms/taxonomies

role play email questions (10 minutes)

Workshop critique (5 minutes)

Fill out evaluation forms
What worked, what didn’t?

Round-Up (5 minutes)

Questions and Comments

MLA CE Credits: 2