Canary Coaches Redoubles Efforts To Remove Implicit Bias
By Canary Coaches Team
Canary Coaches are healthcare professionals who provide support to individuals who want to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight and becoming more active. With the heightened recognition of structural racism, we are increasingly aware how our biases influence our thoughts, words, and actions. We have redoubled our efforts to provide appropriate advice and support.
Our approach uses a digital asynchronous secure messaging platform with occasional phone calls to connect with participants. Thus, in our programs we do not see a picture of the participant, or know the race or cultural identity of an individual, but we do know participants names, where they live, and the foods they choose, and with this knowledge, and despite best conscious efforts against it, even we can be prone to stereotype individuals.
Our coaches provide individualized support to help build confidence in our participants’ ability to make lifestyle changes to improve their eating habits and increase physical activity levels. We recognize that each participant comes to our program with a diverse set of views and preferences. Coaches support and empower participants to adopt and sustain healthy behavior change; however, our approach may be limited by hidden or unknown biases that can get in the way of our role as a coach.
As a team, we have begun to review our approaches and will continue to work to remove any bias. We have committed to the following:
- Being mindful of our unrecognized biases and the need to be culturally sensitive to keep these biases from getting in the way of supportive coaching,
- Being careful about what we disclose about ourselves and our practices/traditions,
- Asking the right questions to elicit what each participant believes is most important to them about their health, personal goals, and motivation for why they joined our program, and
- Not assuming that someone has a similar life experience, as this can upset a participant if the assumption is wrong.
The more we understand an individual’s viewpoint, the better we can personalize our notes and comments so participants can feel confident they can reach their goals and improve their health.