Characterization of Stigmatizing Language in Medical Records

Keith Harrigian, Ayah Zirikly, Brant Chee, Alya Ahmad, Anne R. Links, Somnath Saha, Mary Catherine Beach, Mark Dredze

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Widespread disparities in clinical outcomes exist between different demographic groups in the United States. A new line of work in medical sociology has demonstrated physicians often use stigmatizing language in electronic medical records within certain groups, such as black patients, which may exacerbate disparities. In this study, we characterize these instances at scale using a series of domain-informed NLP techniques. We highlight important differences between this task and analogous bias-related tasks studied within the NLP community (e.g., classifying microaggressions). Our study establishes a foundation for NLP researchers to contribute timely insights to a problem domain brought to the forefront by recent legislation regarding clinical documentation transparency. We release data, code, and models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShort Papers
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781959429715
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes
Event61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2023 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 9 Jul 202314 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
ISSN (Print)0736-587X


Conference61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of Stigmatizing Language in Medical Records'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this