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Intentionality – Identifying and Counteracting Unconscious Bias, While Building Cultural Competence

Dawn Siler-Nixon

We are all subject to our own unconscious biases that result from messages (from an array of sources) introduced into our subconscious as early as age 3. These attitudes and beliefs about differences, including culture, often remain deeply rooted in our subconscious and can unconsciously influence our perception and how we act and react situationally and towards others. The implications of unconscious bias are that people from outside of our beliefs, backgrounds, religions, and culture are often made to feel unwelcome, invisible, and unimportant. This feeds from our fear of the unknown and could cause us to be detached and insensitive. Knowledge is key! Learning more about ourselves and others, through sharing and understanding, will allow us to not only identify implicit and unconscious bias, but also successfully interrupt and address it. This will lead to better decision making, resulting in feelings of inclusivity and cohesiveness despite our divergent backgrounds.

This workshop will include opportunities for members to consider their own backgrounds and experiences and their impact on current actions. We will discuss techniques to use cultural competence to identify and interrupt our own unconscious biases and to help our colleagues do the same, in a respectful and sensitive manner.