Chapter 5 – Poverty, Class, and Privilege

5.0 Poverty, Class, and Privilege

Laurie Belknap DO and Camilla Curren MD


The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of bias and disadvantages experienced by those in poverty or with socioeconomic disadvantage.

train car with graffiti spraypainted with the word poverty
poverty | Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! | CC BY 2.0

Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, you will learn to:

  • Identify bias in the medical community in interprofessional relationships with providers with a background of poverty.
  • Identify bias in physician/patient relationships with patients with poverty.
  • Describe techniques to neutralize or ameliorate the effects of bias against persons with poverty in the medical setting.
  • Describe the negative effects of bias and discrimination against persons with poverty when it is not recognized or addressed.


Prior to reading the Poverty, Class, and Privilege Chapter, you will be asked to take an exercise, watch and read articles on Poverty, Class, and Privilege.

  1. There is no IAT Test on Poverty nor Privilege but in this section, you will still be able to explore your own experience by looking at Beyond the Privilege Walk at
  2. Read Privilege as a Social Determinant of Health in Medical Education: A Single Class Session Can Change Privilege Perspective
  3. Watch What is Privilege? – YouTube
  4. Read the next section to read perspectives on Poverty, Class, and Privilege bias.
  5. You will then have the opportunity to complete a knowledge check to see if you gained a heightened understanding of Poverty, Class, and Privilege bias.
  6. Use this opportunity to learn more about conscious and unconscious bias in health care, to retake the IAT test(s) and to reflect on how you can apply what you’ve learned in this chapter.


Perspectives on Bias in Medicine Copyright © 2018 by Camilla Curren MD. All Rights Reserved.