Cheryl Woods Giscombe

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Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN

Examining Unconscious Bias and Providing Culturally-Sensitive Care

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What You'll Learn

  • Hear a personal account of how unconscious bias manifests in healthcare and how it contributes to healthcare disparities

  • Learn what it means to provide more culturally sensitive care

  • Explore how to cultivate intentional communication by understanding the difference between listening to hear versus listening to respond

About Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN

Dr. Cheryl Woods Giscombe is the LeVine Family Distinguished Associate Professor of Quality of Life, Health Promotion and Wellness at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. Dr. Giscombe is also an adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and the Director of the Interprofessional Leadership Institute for Behavioral Health Equity. She is a health psychologist and a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Her research focuses on stress management to improve health among diverse populations, with specific emphasis on the health and well-being of African American women. Dr. Giscombe developed the groundbreaking Superwoman Schema conceptual framework and questionnaire to conduct research on stress and health in African American women. Dr. Giscombe's research is highly regarded for its focus on culturally-sensitive strategies to reduce health disparities, including the incorporation of mindfulness-based stress reduction in African Americans and other underserved populations.

About Rheanna Hoffmann, RN, BSN

Rheanna Hoffmann, RN, BSN, NC, is an emergency nurse, coach, and meditation guide. She is the Founder of The Whole Practitioner, a coaching business designed to help medical practitioners access and transmute their underlying causes of stress. In April - May, 2020, she traveled to NY to support a Brooklyn hospital in need during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis. On the frontlines, she saw the toll that the virus ravaged on her patients' physiology, her co-workers' mental health, and on the social structures of the city itself. Previously she has worked in emergency, oncology, hospice, and Indigenous medicine, and on death row. She is trained in somatic and wilderness therapy, and is a certified auricular acupuncture specialist. She aspires to create environments where medical practitioners and students discover how their personality, values, and hidden gifts can align with their work.

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  1. Jill Grise October 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Thank you so much for a wonderful discussion on such an important topic. I truly hope that our country can move in a better direction so that we can be less judgmental and biased towards people of all races. America is a melting pot and we should therefore treat all people equally.

  2. Karen Hall October 2, 2020 at 10:48 am

    This presentation brought up a lot of responses for me. I was an operating theatre nurse in the UK for over 20 years, during that time I was a staff union representative, I was a nursing teacher and supervisor plus several other roles over my career. I have witnessed so much prejudice towards my colleagues, so much institutional racism and racist attitudes towards others who are different to the majority. I’ve been bullied and harrassed in various workplaces. I was a whistleblower and vilified for speaking out against some of these issues. I have also observed how badly women doctors/nurses/healthcare professionals/ visitors are treated in the workplace; how relatives have been discriminated against by their doctors as they’ve navigated serious illnesses. Although I believe I challenged many of these issues, I hadn’t really considered how traumatising it was to be in that environment for myself, let alone for my colleagues or patients.
    Dr Woods Ghiscombes presentation gives me great hope – these issues are being placed out in the open and addressed. I feel an optimism that things will change or at least, that is my sincere wish. Thank you

  3. Kanchi October 2, 2020 at 10:34 am

    A thought provoking session. The concept of culturally sensitive as opposed to culturally competent was empowering. Dr Giscombe’s gentle urging to understand why people may have the biases they have, rather than just condemn really resonated with me, as did her anecdote about the interprofessional relationship with her community pharmacist. As a family practitioner, I have a very similar relationship with a pharmacist in my community. Thank you for a talk that reinforces the idea that being humble enough to realise we don’t know (and can never know) everything is the first step towards lifelong learning.

  4. Rick Barber October 2, 2020 at 10:08 am

    OMG, what an Awesome Presentation, Cheryl & Rheanna!
    Rheanna, Awesome Questions for Cheryl!
    Cheryl, I first became aware of Unconscious Biases via; now I have a much better understanding of them! BTW, did not anticipate you mentioning the Raisin Meditation, which I discovered via Sean Fargo’s program I am partaking in! You made me chuckle! That was comedic surprise! You remeind me of another Black African NP I use to work with; I just sent her the link of the Summit and shared the Title of your Talk today! So thank you so much!! And God Bless each of you RN’s for all the Loyal & dedicated work! I applaud your “Mindful works”!

  5. Laurie October 2, 2020 at 9:04 am

    As breathing beings it is human nature to be judgemental. We create the story of every individual we see, meet, pass by on the street based on the senses. It takes seconds. Unconscious bias plays a role in this. What is important is to be mindfully aware of this and make efforts to switch this off in the mind. This takes practice. So to support this challenge, I have begun to approach people with kindness. Listening if they are speaking and demonstrate kindness in action and words. I am still practicing this and at times it isn’t easy but the payoff is great. As a healthcare provider we become intimately involved with our patients, residents or clients moments after meeting them. Kindness goes a long way in helping develop positive relationships and outing both the provider and patient as ease. We can also call this compassion. Love this conversation and grateful for this forum to bring us together.

  6. Laura October 2, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Thank you for this presentation. The distinction between Cultural Competence versus Cultural Sensitivity really resonated with me.

  7. Robert JONES October 2, 2020 at 5:55 am

    Super structure to the session. Thanks to both.

    Perhaps we need to consider that ‘unconscious’ bias is only unconscious until we make ourselves aware of our own prejudices / beliefs and values – as Cheryl suggests – having some humility and accepting that we are not perfect but would seek to improve means that we take responsibility for challenging ourselves. Perhaps, in response to Elzbieta’s question (above), we need to consider that as professional people our professionalism is about educating and improving ourselves, not awaiting our employer/institution of organisation to provide input – but rather adopting a more self-aware and self-critical view so as to avoid ‘unconscious’ becoming something of a euphemism for self-deception.

    Unconscious bias is a polite way of saying “arrogant lack of awareness and willingness to address our own prejudices and bigotry” maybe?

  8. Kim October 1, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you for Dr. Giscombe’s excellent presentation . It is the most informative, helpful, non-judgemental presentation on this topic I have seen.

    Ms. Hoffman distracted from this excellent presentation. Why limit your biased question to Dr. Giscombe “what can White clinicians do to become more aware of their unconscious bias?” Why exclude clinicians of color from the discussion?

  9. Jean Ellis-Sankari October 1, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Thank you. This is such an essential aspect of our lives today on so many levels in society.

  10. Elzbieta October 1, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    There are various “faces” of bias and the education is the first step to “help” students to be aware of it. What would be the next step?

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