Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Invited Panel #411
CE Offered: BACB
Diversity submission Management of Bias: Behavior Science Meets Medical Education
Monday, May 31, 2021
12:00 PM–1:10 PM
Area: DEI; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Carol Pilgrim (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Carol Pilgrim, Ph.D.
Panelists: NEDA ETEZADI-AMOLI (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine), RAMONA HOUMANFAR (University of Nevada, Reno), NICOLE JACOBS (University of Nevada School of Medicine), MELISSA PIASECKI (UNR Med)

Alarming epidemics in the medical profession include burnout of highly trained personnel and medical errors that are products of team dynamic related phenomena (stress, implicit biases inhibiting cooperation etc.). Equally alarming is the growing evidence of health outcome disparities resulting from bias in the healthcare settings. Medical schools are developing curricular elements that increase resiliency, self-compassion, cooperation, and empathy towards patients to combat these effects. The panelists will provide an overview of the long term interdisciplinary collaboration between University of Nevada, Reno Medical School (UNR Med) and Performance System Technologies (PST) Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno, that has resulted in the developed assessment and training procedures for identifying and mitigating bias in physicians in training. The discussion will also include ways this interdisciplinary program may serve as an effective model for addressing bias in a variety of organizations.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify negative impacts of bias in health care settings; (2) describe strategies used to mitigate bias in physicians in training; (3) describe strengths of the UNR interdisciplinary model for addressing bias in a variety of organizations.
NEDA ETEZADI-AMOLI (University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine)

Neda Etezadi-Amoli, M.D. is the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Director of Medical Student Career Advising at University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. She helped develop the OB/GYN Clerkship for the medical school and has served as Clerkship Director. Neda joined the Implicit Bias Research Group in 2016 and has been working with Dr. Houmanfar and her team to develop implicit bias training for the third-year medical students in clinical rotations. Dr. Etezadi-Amoli is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine and completed her residency training at the University of Texas, Southwestern, where she stayed on as faculty for two years, working with residents and medical students. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and completed the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics Scholars and Leaders program. Her interests include innovating medical education and interprofessional education and teamwork.

RAMONA HOUMANFAR (University of Nevada, Reno)

Ramona Houmanfar is Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Behavior Analysis Program at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Dr. Houmanfar and members of her Performance System Technologies Lab at UNR co-founded the interdisciplinary cross campus partnership with Dr. Piasecki in 2012 to facilitate advancement of leadership objectives at UNR Med and promote graduate training in interdisciplinary science. Dr. Houmanfar’s established record of publication, and expertise in behavioral systems analysis and cultural behavior analysis have guided the interdisciplinary partnership with UNRMed and research associated with implicit bias, cooperation, situational awareness, decision making, and value based governance.   

NICOLE JACOBS (University of Nevada School of Medicine)

Negar “Nicole” Jacobs is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  She received her PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2003 and completed her internship at the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System.  After internship, she worked in the Addictive Disorders Treatment Program at the VA for 5 years, before leaving to pursue her true passion of teaching at UNR Med in 2007.  Dr. Jacobs has served as the Behavioral Science Coordinator for first-year medical students and is currently a Block Director for the Practice of Medicine in Year 1.  In 2016, she was promoted to a leadership position in the Dean’s Office, leading the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and became Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion in 2017. 


Dr. Jacobs’ research centers around the assessment of implicit bias and the development of practices to mitigate bias in medical students and faculty search and admissions committee members.  Dr. Jacobs’ Implicit Bias Research Group employs the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) with students and faculty, and has developed online and in person trainings to mitigate bias using Acceptance and Commitment Training.  She is currently collecting data to assess the impact of these trainings on students and faculty.  In the role of Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Jacobs oversees institutional diversity and inclusion efforts, including working with the Assistant Dean for Admissions, Outreach and Inclusion to increase the diversity of medical students, working with the Associate Dean of GME to increase the diversity of residents and fellows, and spearheading efforts to increase the diversity of faculty at UNR Med.  She is also responsible for the diversity curriculum for medical students and works with clerkship and residency directors to develop additional content related to diversity.  She partners with all department Chairs and Unit leaders to advance initiatives related to diversity and inclusion in all areas of UNR Med, and has worked with central leadership to make strategic recruitment of faculty one of the main components of UNR Med’s next Strategic Plan.  She is also working with the Office of Faculty to develop a leadership training program aimed at URM faculty in order to increase retention and advancement. 


Melissa Piasecki, M.D. is Executive Associate Dean and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. As a senior member of the medical school leadership team, she co-founded an interdisciplinary cross campus partnership with Dr. Houmanfar in 2012 to advance the missions of the medical school through the application of Behavior Scientific principles. Dr. Piasecki received her M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She completed psychiatry residency training at the University of Vermont and a Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship  at the University of Hawaii. Melissa is board certified in general psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. Her interests include forensic psychiatry, education, neurobiology of substance abuse disorders, and the science of behavior change.




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