College of Education hosts body size discrimination workshops

College of Education researchers Elizabeth Budd and Nichole Kelly

College of Education researchers Nichole Kelly and Elizabeth Budd will host multiple workshops addressing body size discrimination. The events will be open to all University of Oregon faculty members, staff and students with paid positions.

Workshops will be held Jan. 11 from noon to 3 p.m., Feb. 5 from 1 to 4 p.m.; and March 1 from noon to 3 p.m. Each workshop will be hosted over Zoom for the safety of presenters and participants.

“We hope our workshops start a conversation about body size and challenges what people think they know about it,” said Evergreen Assistant Professor Nichole Kelly. “We hope to increase awareness of what body size discrimination looks like and offer tangible ideas for reducing instances of this form of discrimination in their personal and professional lives.”

After attending a workshop, participants should be able to identify body size bias and where it comes from, how such biases contribute inequities in professional settings, and commit to strategies that reduce body size bias and promote inclusion in the workplace.

The workshops are part of an ongoing research project focused on reducing weight bias and discrimination and providing individual enrichment and learning while contributing to the objective of the research project.

The workshops and their content are not associated with UO discrimination prevention initiatives and trainings. Employee participation is voluntary and unrelated to UO employment.

Attendees also can participate in a research study to measure the effectiveness of the information delivered during the workshop. Participants will take a survey before and after the workshop and will receive a $40 Amazon gift card.

According to Kelly, the workplace is the second-most common place people experience body size discrimination, right behind the home. By increasing awareness, Kelly hopes the workshop will contribute to decreasing discrimination.

“People who are perceived as having a larger body size are judged harshly,” Kelly said. “These experiences — being discriminated against because of one’s body size — have significant and long-term effects on individuals’ health, well-being, quality of medical care, economic and employment situations, and so forth.”

Counseling psychology doctoral students Gabby Luther and Austin Folger will host the workshops. Both students have an interest in addressing body size discrimination and have focused much of their research on the subject.

Workshops are limited to 30 attendees each, and spots are filling up quickly. Choose a date and time and register online to secure a place. The development of the workshop was made possible by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, Heathy Oregon Challenge Fund, Andrea Wiggins Fund and Hope Baney Fund.