Microaggressions in Medicine
Microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults (Sue et al., 2007)
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The title ‘Microaggressions’ in white lettering against a grey background.
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A quote reading, “How can you be a surgeon if you can’t even reach over the table?” (in yellow lettering).
Microaggressions occur everywhere and can happen to anyone. They come from systemic and institutionalized biases. They are like cuts, don’t cut people with the words you use.
How do Microaggressions make you feel?
A collage of words capturing the feelings associated with microaggressions (the words form an outline of a brain).
Text against a gray background, Let’s create change for our community: For more information about microaggressions, visit: som.georgetown/microaggressions; #KnowYourImpact
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Microaggressions in Medicine
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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.
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.