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Addressing bias in patient care

What unconscious biases are your simulations enforcing?


How can EMS educators and leaders help prevent bias in patient care? One way is to make the unconscious conscious.

In this episode of The EMS Educator podcast, hosts Rob Lawrence and Hilary Gates, MAEd, NRP, welcome guests Katie O’Connor, EMS educator and simulation expert in LA County and Washington D.C.’s GWU; and Sahaj Khalsa, Santa Fe (New Mexico) Community College’s EMS program director. Prodigy’s Medical Director, Maia Dorsett, MD, PhD, FAEMS, FACEP, also weighs in.

Our guests discuss the importance of definitions, why words matter and the prevalence of bias in simulation (racial, age, gender, etc.).

They give tips on how to normalize the discussion, destigmatize bias and not always use white male manikins.

If you’re an educator, chief or EMS employer, look at your data around this issue. Look at your scenarios and what they are reinforcing. Your clinicians will respond and improve.


Read more:

What EMS leaders need to know about unconscious bias

Understanding your unconscious biases will make hiring decisions, disciplinary choices, relationships and clinical care more equitable

Get in touch with our guests:

Maia Dorsett:

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Hilary Gates, MAEd, NRP, is the director of educational strategy for Prodigy EMS and is a consultant for 410 Medical, Inc. She is a volunteer paramedic in the Alexandria (VA) Fire Department and teaches in the School of Education at American University in Washington, D.C., and in the Emergency Medicine program at University of Pittsburgh. Beginning her career as a volunteer EMT with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Montgomery County, Md., Gates became a full-time paramedic, EMT instructor and FTO at AFD, and then served as senior editorial and program director for EMS World. Gates implemented AFD’s MIH/CP program in 2017 and has extensive experience as an EMS educator, symposium presenter, and quality improvement trainer.

Rob Lawrence has been a leader in civilian and military EMS for over a quarter of a century. Currently, he works on both coasts in part-time roles as director of strategic implementation of PRO EMS Cambridge, Massachusetts, and as executive director of the California Ambulance Association. Rob is also the principal of Robert Lawrence Consulting. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Paramedics Plus in Alameda County, California, and COO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority (Virginia), which won both state and national EMS Agency of the Year awards during his 10-year tenure. Rob also writes and podcasts at EMS1, is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board, and co-hosts the popular FirstWatch “Conversations that Matters” web series. Rob is a former board member of the American Ambulance Association and currently serves as chair of its Communications Committee and as a member of the media rapid response task force, providing media response to national industry-related news inquiries.