The effect of a brief equity, diversity, and inclusion training module on fitness professionals' racial bias


Many individuals from racialized groups experience stigma and bias from their healthcare practitioners and fitness professionals. Small Steps for Big Changes (SSBC) is a diabetes prevention program designed to empower individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes to make diet and exercise changes. SSBC is delivered in the community by fitness professionals, who take training to become SSBC coaches. SSBC training presents an opportunity to educate fitness professionals on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). This study investigated whether a brief EDI module could reduce fitness professionals' racial biases. Twelve participants read an SSBC mock client vignette that stated the client's race. Participants then completed a questionnaire assessing their perceptions of the client presented in the vignette and their empathetic awareness towards people who experience racial biases. The participants were then randomized to watch either the SSBC EDI module (EDI-group) or a time-matched neutral video (non-EDI-group). All participants then repeated the client perceptions and empathetic awareness measures. The non-EDI-group was used as a manipulation check. Perceptions of the client increased pre- (M = 5.07±0.47, p = 0.05) to post-module (M = 5.39±0.72) in the EDI-group, but not in empathetic awareness (p = 0.85). These findings suggest that a brief EDI module can reduce fitness professionals' racial bias.

Acknowledgments: I would like to respectfully acknowledge that this research was conducted on the lands of the Syilx Nation. This research was funded by the Stober Foundation and CIHR grant (Jung) #020438.