Governor Newsom signs Assembly Bills 241 and 242 to address implicit bias in healthcare and the courts

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) – Today Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation authored by Assemblymember Kamlager-Dove to incorporate implicit bias training into continued education for healthcare professionals, lawyers and judges (D-Los Angeles).

Kamlager-Dove’s Assembly Bill 241 requires implicit bias training as a component of continued medical education (CME) for licensees under the Medical Board, Physician Assistant Board and Board of Registered Nursing.

Assembly Bill 242 incorporates implicit bias training into continued legal education for officers of the court, including judges and attorneys.

“If we believe that certain lives are less valuable than others, then we may be less likely to try and save those lives. If we believe that certain people are more threatening, then we may be less willing to defend their rights,” said Kamlager-Dove.

Injustice, in the form of implicit bias, is inherent in our healthcare and justice system.

For instance, black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide, and women who see female doctors are three times more likely to survive cardiac emergencies than women who see male doctors.

Studies also show that implicit biases are pervasive in our legal system. A study published last year in Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that judges may be just as biased or even more biased than the general public in deciding court cases in which traditional gender roles are challenged, and that prosecutors are more likely to charge black suspects than white suspects in comparable circumstances. Similarly, public defenders may work harder for a defendant that they perceive as more educated or likely to be successful because of race, gender or socioeconomic status.

Clearly, the decisions these professionals make regularly in their official roles have the power to alter lives significantly.

 “Statistics show us that the status quo is appalling. Implementing curriculum that has been proven to reduce biases before consequential decisions are made in courts and emergency rooms is imperative. Saving the lives of people who traditionally have been marginalized will move us toward a more fair and just society.”

Governor Newsom’s signing of the legislation is a comprehensive victory to reduce disparities in health care and the judicial system in California.

Assembly District 54 consists of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, the Crenshaw District, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.

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Assembly District 54 consists of Baldwin Hills, Cheviot Hills, the Crenshaw District, Century City, Culver City, Ladera Heights, Mar Vista, Palms, Rancho Park, Westwood and parts of South Los Angeles and Inglewood.