Can Virtual Reality Be Used to Combat Racial Bias in Health Care?

When you slip the virtual reality headset over your eyes and take hold of the hand controls, a middle-aged Black woman appears before you. When you move your hands, she moves hers. When you turn your head to the left, so does she.

“You are Monique Williams,” the VR narrator says. “Take a look at yourself in the mirror.”

You have a short Afro and you’re wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans. You’ve been experiencing a lot of pain in your right arm, the narrator tells you, but after you went to the doctor two weeks ago, the pain has gotten worse, so you're heading back.

Now you sit on a medical exam table, and a white doctor stands at her computer looking down at you. Her voice brims with contempt.

“Yeah, I can see in these notes that one of the other doctors on my team told you last time that a lot of what you're experiencing is because of your weight and lack of exercise,” she says. Read more...