W41 – Microaggressions: A Geological Model of Conceptualizing Sequelae on Racialized People

W41 – Microaggressions: A Geological Model of Conceptualizing Sequelae on Racialized People

Saturday, Oct. 29
10:45 – 11:45 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Chestnut (Mezzanine)
Oyedeji Ayonrinde*, MBBS, FRCPscyh, MBA; Shade Miller, MD; Ahmad Alghofaily, MD; Nimisha Singaram, MB, BCh, BAO; Elyse Platt, MD; Jeremy Butler, PhD

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Professional
  2. Health Advocate
  3. Collaborator

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Identify different types of microaggressions in clinical, academic, and other settings; 2) Describe the cognitive schema and stages of microaggressions on racialized people; and 3) Consider the cumulative impact of microaggressions through the lifespan.

Microaggressions and racial incidents have an insidious and often serious impact on the lives of racialized people. Characterized by intentional or unintentional microassaults, microinsults, microinvalidations, and the environmental milieu, these may be experienced through the lifespan. The short-, mid-, and long-term impacts are influenced by several individual, situational, and environmental factors. Often associated with autonomic, affective, and behavioural mechanisms, the experience, consequences, and sequelae of microaggressions can be complex and difficult for those unfamiliar to conceptualize. Unlike familiar symptoms and signs in clinical practice, the impact of microaggressions can be more latent and difficult to elucidate. Further, while sharing common themes, the nature of these experiences can be so unique to each person that the empathy and understanding required for compassion, alliance, and prevention of these incidents may be limited.

This seminar and workshop set out a theoretical geological model and framework for understanding microaggressions, highlighting the individual cognitive, affective, and behavioural stages involved and the mechanism by which these can leave a cumulative impact on victims. The five stages include the following: 1) understanding the characteristics of individual baselines, 2) the microaggression event, 3) the emotional storm, 4) the cognitive calculus, and 5) the microaggression residue left. These will be illustrated with case scenarios demonstrating the cognitive processes and challenges associated with reappraisal or suppression of microaggressions and the ensuing health impact.


  1. Sue DW, Capodilupo CM, Torino GC, et al. Racial microaggressions in everyday life: implications for clinical practice. Am Psychol 2007;62:271–86.
  2. Torres MB, Salles A, Cochran A. Recognizing and reacting to microaggressions in medicine and surgery. JAMA Surg 2019;154:868–72.