EmpowHer NY and The Bloc  

The Call

Although many in healthcare agree that unconscious bias exists in medicine, they usually can’t see it: The very definition of “blind spots” is that they’re invisible.

This experiment, skillfully distilled into a high-impact video, illuminates these hidden pockets of prejudice, demonstrating how routinely healthcare professionals dismiss the pain of women of color. And it does it in such an unflinching way that viewers must ask themselves: “What kind of bias keeps me from providing adequate care?”

“The Call taps into a critical inequity in our country and shines a bold, bright light on it, making it impossible to unsee,” says Carly Baron, chair of jury of this year’s awards and VP, GM of U.S. neuroscience at Amgen. “We know biases exist throughout healthcare, but this shows us firsthand how the difference in a name can truly be life or death.”

The power of this campaign, timed for International Women’s Day on March 8, is undeniable. The video got 7 million views on the first day. The effort would have been a success no matter when it was released. But it gained relevance and urgency as COVID-19 swept through American healthcare, revealing more racial disparities. African-Americans are three times as likely to contract the virus and twice as likely it die from it. 

And in late May, as the death of George Floyd swelled the Black Lives Matter movement to spark the biggest civil rights protests in a generation, the campaign’s message about racial and gender injustice grew even more resonant.

It’s wonderful, of course, that this work validates healthcare discrimination for women of color. But the campaign, which also won gold in Use of Social Media — Organic and Diversity and Inclusion, is having its real impact on healthcare workers. In the first week alone, 450 doctors, medical students, nurses and other professionals completed unconscious bias training through EmpowHer NY’s platform.

“It’s a call to action for each of us as we reflect on both conscious and unconscious biases,” says Baron. “We need to do more and better —  urgently — in our roles as advertisers, marketers, leaders and human beings.”