Bias in biomedical data has come to the forefront in the last year in light of how groups of patients have received care for COVID-19. This discussion has also highlighted other ways that data can be examined for different types of social justice biases. But before you can examine the data for biases, it’s essential to take time to read and educate yourself on the types of biases, resources, and conversations being had around social justice in the library and in medicine.
The NNLM has recorded workshops and other resources about general concepts in diversity, equity and inclusion as well as resources on specific areas of bias. This background can make you a better informed librarian and provide a foundation for understanding different aspects of looking at, searching for, or teaching about data.
One non-NNLM resource is the book chapter Mitigating implicit bias in reference service and literature searching,by Molly Higgins and Rachel Keiko Stark from the book Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action: Planning, Leadership, and Programming. The chapter is made available via their institutional repository.
“In the past few years, medical and allied health schools have developed curricula to address implicit bias and provide better care for patients. Libraries, too, have created material to address personal biases. We expand upon both of these bodies of literature by considering the impact of implicit bias on finding and accessing the scientific literature. Health sciences librarians play a crucial role in ensuring access to the health sciences literature and as such, teaching librarians to recognize and address implicit bias in reference interviews and literature searches holds the potential to improve health sciences education and ultimately patient care. In this chapter, we aim to provide a relatively comprehensive review of the growing body of literature on implicit bias within health sciences libraries; to briefly describe our workshop on identifying and addressing implicit bias within the reference interviews and searching; and to leave the reader with concrete strategies for addressing implicit bias within their own reference and research process”
These are just a few of the many diverse areas related to this topic, and just a few of the resources available to you through the NNLM and elsewhere. Continued learning and professional development is key to learning to serve all of our patrons better.