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Faculty Development: Email 8 Microaggressions

Resource Email 8 Managing Microaggressions

For Faculty: Please save this email to your Faculty Development email folder

“When women introduced female speakers, professional titles were used 97.8% (45 of 46) of the time; when women introduced male speakers, professional titles were used 95% (57 of 60) of the time. By comparison, men introducing male speakers used a professional title 72.4% (110 of 152) of the time, But when men introduced female speakers, professional titles were used only 49.2% (31 of 63) of the time.”

What’s your immediate reaction to this data? It’s likely influenced by your gender.

For our male faculty, residents, students and other staff, we do not get to decide whether or not we verbalized an implicit bias. That decision is owned by the receiver of the communication, not the sender.


This week’s Piece, What’s In A Name, addresses implicit bias and the microaggressions that result. Perhaps the term microaggression is bothersome as we don’t view ourselves as aggressive. After all, we are in the helping professions. However, any language that disregards or discounts (including in the use of titles)  puts us on the slippery slope into disrespect and then discrimination.


Here is the link to the Piece. Please read it and consider it. Consider if you have unintentionally fallen into this at times. Perhaps in emails, or report, or staffings or introductions at conferences

Here is the link to the article that the Piece author cited the data from:


MCHS addresses this is a number of ways, starting with the MCHS Core Values of Trust (“We earn trust through honesty, integrity, respect and compassion”) and Teamwork (“We work together, respecting each other and our professional roles). The August 16th Grand Rounds will be on Understanding and Mitigating Implicit Bias. Keep this Piece of My Mind in mind as you attend or later watch this Grand Rounds.


For Faculty:

Make it clear to your residents and students what is the appropriate use of titles in emails and interactions. Don’t assume the learner knows what it is. You model the proper culture of our clinical learning environment. When you witness language or behavior that is disregarding or discounting of another person, speak up. Supportively state what you noticed and state the correction that needs to be made. Whether intentional or not,  it is critical that you address it in your role as a model of our Core Values.


For Residents and Students:

As you join the medical culture of MCHS, ask about the correct, respectful use of titles in emails, report, staffings, introductions. Do not assume. Ask.


Your attention to this promotes our Core Values and it makes a difference for everyone’s wellbeing.


Michael J. Schulein, Ph.D.

Resident Wellbeing Committee, chairperson

Division of Education