Bias Breakers: Continuous Practice for Admissions and Selection Committees

Sunny Nakae, Ann Gel Palermo, Mary Sun, Roohi Byakod, Tammy La

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Admissions and selection committees face challenges in identifying and mitigating biases in policies, processes, and discussions. Past bias training has focused on defining bias and presenting the negative impact of bias for committees. Methods: This interactive training used committee comments, reflection, and audience response to enhance the contextual recognition of bias in admissions and selection processes and practices. For each bias type, we presented specific mitigation strategies and examples. The workshop was offered at four medical schools between December 2020 and April 2021. Participants were committee members (n = 126), largely medical school faculty, involved in MD, MD/PhD, and residency program selection at participating schools. A paired pre- and postworkshop assessment was conducted for each session to determine effectiveness of the workshop. Results: Mean scores for each of the postassessment items ranged from 4.0 to 4.2 and were statistically significantly different from the preassessment scores per respective item. The results of a paired two-way t test found that these pre- to postworkshop assessment score increases were statistically significant across all assessment questions (ps < .001). Participants reported in their comments that the workshop was effective in establishing a safe and judgment-free learning environment to explore and identify biases and build skills and confidence for mitigating them. Discussion: Interactive and applied bias training can be an effective strategy to advance committee culture and practice in recognizing and mitigating bias. This workshop provides committees with ongoing tools for equity practice in selection and decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11285
Number of pages1
JournalMedEdPORTAL : the journal of teaching and learning resources
StatePublished - 2022


  • Admissions Committee
  • Admissions/Selection
  • Anti-racism
  • Bias
  • Communication Skills
  • Diversity
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Selection Committee


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