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Action Items Update | January 31, 2022

  1. Arrange discrimination and bias training for the Executive, Board of Directors, and Planning Committee - ONGOING

  2. Reframe our language to align with our conference objectives - COMPLETED

  3. Engage members in review of conference sponsorship guidelines and obesity-related educational offerings - COMPLETED

  4. Review and amend our policies and procedures to be more inclusive when contacting speakers; including receiving feedback/opinions from experts in DEI - ONGOING

  5. Commit to collaborate with our weight-inclusive dietitian members to offer members learning in body liberation and social justice.

For more detailed information, please contact: Kim Sandiland at president@primarycaredietitianassociation.org 

Primary Care Dietitians’ Association Statement
Date: January 13, 2022


(Content Warning: obesity)

 

The Primary Care Dietitian Association (PCDA) Board of Directors would like to formally address a situation that has occurred in the past week involving planning for the upcoming PCDA conference and a researcher/educator/advocate who has interests in how racism, anti-Blackness, and fatphobia have an impact on public health and healthcare, that the planning committee identified as a potential speaker.


The PCDA Conference Committee identified through the membership that a dialogue on *obesity is needed to improve patient care from a physiological, mental health, and quality of life perspective.

 

The Committee aimed to create space for a respectful dialogue regarding a polarizing topic, *obesity. Our intention was to offer a balanced viewpoint through an (un)learning session.


Our PCDA President/Board Chair watched a panel discussion exploring studies on fat oppression and fat activism in health and wellness spaces. During this talk, the panel suggested that 'health care professionals must first acknowledge their fat phobia, understand that most health education does not teach how to adequately/appropriately provide care to fat patients, and that health care professionals learn from fat people on how to be better practitioners’. We believe this panel to be comprised of very insightful and powerful speakers, and felt our membership could benefit from hearing this perspective.


Our intention was to invite an expert in public health, fat studies and stigma to engage in critical dialogue about a very important topic to foster learning and growth.


We acknowledge and apologize for our role in creating a situation that could have affected the safety of our invited speaker by requesting they speak alongside an *obesity-focused physician without sufficient opportunity to engage with the PCDA. We acknowledge that our generalized invitation was not comprehensive and did not invite the potential speaker to frame their content. We must do better when engaging with equity-seeking groups to minimize harm. We also acknowledge that the use of the term ‘Obesity versus Anti-Obesity panel' to describe our intention was incorrect. We acknowledge that the panel can be viewed as a debate or dichotomy; our intention was to provide a balance of clinical and social justice, not a debate.


For this we apologize. We acknowledge that we have work to do in anti-fat discrimination and bias.


In response to this dialogue, the PCDA will:

 

  1. Arrange discrimination and bias training for the Executive, Board of Directors, and Planning Committee.

  2. Reframe our language to align with our conference objectives.

  3. Engage members in review of conference sponsorship guidelines and obesity-related educational offerings.

  4. Review and amend our policies and procedures to be more inclusive when contacting speakers; including receiving feedback/opinions from experts in DEI.

  5. Commit to collaborate with our weight-inclusive dietitian members to offer members learning in body liberation and social justice.


Our Executive Director immediately responded to the speaker privately in an effort to validate her concerns, take accountability for our error, while also inviting her to be part of the conversation.


The PCDA is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in primary care dietetics in Canada. We aim to offer our members opportunities for learning and improvement; including this complex topic (*obesity). We are a group of diverse professionals - many of whom practice from a weight-inclusive, social justice framework - who welcome the opportunity for growth and learning.


The PCDA values transparency to our membership, we are sharing this statement in support of our collective (un)learning through shared experiences. We are open to feedback from membership regarding offering critical dialogue and learning opportunities. If you have an idea that you would like to share, please do contact us through our website or via email:

Kim Sandiland, President & Board Chair:

president@primarycaredietitianassociation.org

 

or

Kristen Garland, Executive Director:

director@primarycaredietitianassociation.org

 


 

*This document was written in collaboration with the PCDA's Board of Directors: Rawan Aljbour, Catherine Cai, Sonia Filice, Donna Lowes, Laurie Michael, Kim Sandiland, Tameika Shaw

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