A New Approach to Assessing Bias with a Behavior Scientific Tool

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Students in Classroom

UNR Med medical students completing the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure.

Since 2012, UNR Med has partnered with the Performance Systems & Technologies lab from the UNR Behavior Analysis Program to develop and refine various iterations of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). The IRAP is comparable to the Implicit Association Test, but is rooted in behavior analytic theory and methodology, which allows the IBRG to assess change in responding at a more detailed individual stimulus level.

The UNR Med IRAP is administered to both faculty and students. Faculty currently receive IRAPs related to gender, race, socioeconomic status, and cultural background (e.g., rural communities). Students currently receive IRAPs related to obesity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, health status, cooperation, and burnout. Students currently the IRAP periodically throughout the first two years of their medical education and are then provided with their individual results and cohort-level results. The IBRG provides lectures and discussion content related to these results, so students can better understand the implications of their IRAP results on patient care.

Relevant Publications:

  • Baker, T.K., Smith, G.S., Jacobs, N.N., Houmanfar, R.A., Tolles, R., Kuhls, D., Piasecki, M. (2016). A deeper look at implicit weight bias in medical students. Advances in Health Science Education, 1-12. Doi: 10.1007/s10459-016-9718-1      
  • Baker T.K., Schwenk T., Piasecki M., Smith G.S., Reimer D., Jacobs N.N., Shonkwiler G., Hagen J., Houmanfar R.A. (2015). Cultural Change in a Medical School: A Data-Driven Management of Entropy. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 35, (1-2), 95-122. DOI: 10.1080/01608061.2015.1035826