Microaggressions in Medicine


Microaggressions in Medicine

Microaggressions: "I was told not to practice different specialities"

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“I was told not to choose to practice different specialties if I ever wanted to have children.”
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Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatroy, or negative slights and insults (Sue et al., 2007)
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To Respond, Take A.C.T.I.O.N.
(Cheung, F. Ganote, C.M., & Souza, T.J., 2016)
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Carefully listen: If they disagree with your paraphrase, you could end the conversation or make a statement about their initial comment. If they agree with your paraphrase, explore their intent further.
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What To Do About Microaggressions

Cheung, F., Ganote, C. M., & Souza, T.J. (2016) use the A.C.T.I.O.N. acronym as a safe way for people to address microaggressions at work or in society.

Take A.C.T.I.O.N.

Ask: Clarifying questions to assist with understanding the microaggressor’s intentions. 

Carefully listen: If they disagree with your paraphrase, you could end the conversation or make a statement about their initial comment. If they agree with your paraphrase, explore their intention further.  

Tell others: What you observed as problematic in a factual manner. 

Impact consideration: Ask for or state the potential impact of such a statement or action on others. 

Own your response: Own your own thoughts and feelings around the impact using first-person language.

Next steps: Request appropriate action be taken and check in with the target of the microaggresion. 

This strategy is also featured in the Harvard Macy Community Blog: https://www.harvardmacy.org/index.php/hmi/mededpearls-october-2018-microaggressions

Ganote, C., Cheung, F., & Souza, T. (2016). Micro-aggressions, micro-resistance, and ally development in the academy.

Where to Report Instances of Bias

Medical Student Life Advisory Committee: Procedures for Reporting an Incident of Mistreatment, Bias or Harassment

Anonymous Comment Box for Bias Reports

Read More About Microaggressions

Scholarly Article: “I, Too, Am a Physician” by Omonele Nwokolo

Photo Project: 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear in Everyday Life

“I, Too, Am Harvard” Campaign