Reducing Skin Color Bias in Medicine

VisualDx, a medical informatics company (and maker of, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its brainchild Project IMPACT, a global collaborative of nine organizations aiming to reduce health disparities and improve outcomes for patients of color.

The other eight members besides VisualDx include the Skin of Color Society, New England Journal of Medicine Group and the American Academy of Dermatology. Collectively, that includes 1.5 million healthcare professionals globally, including students, the company said. It hopes to add more collaborators this year.

Dark skin is significantly underrepresented in medical teachings and literature, making up less than 5% of images in medical texts. If clinicians are not trained to recognize disease patterns in patients of color, this leads to a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, which can be life-threatening. Black people, for instance, have lower rates of survival for skin cancer than white people, who are nonetheless much more likely to develop it.

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