Addressing Unconscious Racial Bias in EMS with Jamie Kennel


This edition of Code 3 may make you a little uncomfortable. It’s about racial bias among EMS providers.

And while that bias may be unconscious, it affects patients all the same.

My guest today led a comprehensive study of nearly 26,000 EMS encounters in Oregon over two years.

The results are disturbing. The data showed that medics were less likely to do a pain assessment on Hispanic and Asian patients than whites. It also found that black patients were 40 percent less likely to be given pain meds.

What’s going on here? Certainly, no medic goes on a run thinking that a minority patient’s going to get different treatment.

Here with some answers is Jamie Kennel.
Jamie is the program director of the Paramedic Program, a joint program between Oregon Health and Science University, and Oregon Institute of Technology, where he’s an associate professor.

He’s also a co-founder of Healthcare Equity Group – they help EMS organizations improve the equity of their care.

Jamie’s article: Racial disparities in EMS

Article: Study finds racial disparities in treatment by Oregon EMS agencies

Study: Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pain Treatment