1. McCarty, Dana B. DPT, PT


Background: Implicit bias permeates beliefs and actions both personally and professionally and results in negative health outcomes for people of color-even in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). NICU clinicians may naively and incorrectly assume that NICU families receive unbiased care. Existing evidence establishing associations between sex, race, and neonatal outcomes may perpetuate the tendency to deny racial bias in NICU practice.


Evidence Acquisition: Using the socioecological model as a framework, this article outlines evidence for racial health disparities in the NICU on multiple levels-societal, community, institutional, interpersonal, and individual. Using current evidence and recommendations from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses Position Statement on "Racial Bias in the NICU," appropriate interventions and equitable responses of the NICU clinician are explored.


Results: Based on current evidence, clinicians should reject the notion that the social construct of race is the root cause for certain neonatal morbidities. Instead, clinicians should focus on the confluence of medical and social factors contributing to each individual infant's progress. This critical distinction is not only important for clinicians employing life-saving interventions, but also for those who provide routine care, developmental care, and family education-as these biases can and do shape clinical interactions.


Implications for Practice and Research: Healthcare practitioners have an ethical and moral responsibility to maintain up-to-date knowledge of new evidence that impacts our clinical practice. The evidence demonstrates the importance of recognizing the enduring role of racism in the health and well-being of people of color and the need to adjust care accordingly.