Health disparities; Hispanic patients; American Indian patients; Provider cognition


Public Health | Social Psychology


Objective: Hispanic Americans and American Indians face significant health disparities compared with White Americans. Research suggests that stereotyping of minority patients by members of the medical community is an important antecedent of race and ethnicity-based health disparities. This work has primarily focused on physicians’ perceptions, however, and little research has examined the stereotypes healthcare personnel associate with Hispanic and American Indian patients. The present study assesses: 1) the health-related stereotypes both nursing and medical students hold about Hispanic and American Indian patients, and 2) nursing and medical students’ motivation to treat Hispanic and American Indian patients in an unbiased manner.

Design: Participants completed a questionnaire assessing their awareness of stereotypes that healthcare professionals associate with Hispanic and American Indian patients then completed measures of their motivation to treat Hispanics and American Indians in an unbiased manner.

Results: Despite being highly motivated to treat Hispanic and American Indian individuals fairly, the majority of participants reported awareness of stereotypes associating these patient groups with noncompliance, risky health behavior, and difficulty understanding and/or communicating health-related information.

Conclusion: This research provides direct evidence for negative health-related stereotypes associated with two understudied minority patient groups—Hispanics and American Indians—among both nursing and medical personnel.