Medical providers demonstrate weight bias (WB) to varying degrees, which negatively impacts quality of care and patient outcomes. WB is defined as the “negative weight-related attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and judgments toward individuals who are overweight and obese.” There are few established WB healthcare training programs. The objective of this study was to provide an interprofessional education (IPE) simulation activity, comparing its impact to a traditional style lecture on students’ weight-related attitudes and perceptions.
44 students from medical, pharmacy, physician assistant (PA), and nursing programs participated in an IPE simulation with obese standardized patients (SP), debriefing, and a WB presentation. 36 PA students received a 2-hour WB lecture. A pre-/post-questionnaire assessed student perceptions of WB, provider experience with obese patients, and perceived causes of obesity. Median scale scores for pre-/post-questionnaires were evaluated for significance of differences (IPE or lecture group).
Distributions of score changes in the IPE group were significantly different from the lecture group for three questions in Perceived Treatment Outcomes of Obesity scale. Changes of score were greater in the IPE group as compared with the lecture group. IPE training attendees showed a significant increase in “Introspective” score by 0.535 (p=0.031) or in “Enjoy/Value” score by 0.696 (p=0.018), compared to lecture. Metrics for all pre/post Interprofessional Collaborative Competencies Attainment Survey (ICCAS) items increased. Likert evaluation items and qualitative responses for learning objectives and SP interactions indicated students agreed this was a positive and effective learning experience.
IPE simulation WB training utilizing obese standardized patients is superior to lecture model in positively impacting students’ weight-related attitudes and perceptions regarding perceived treatment outcomes of obesity and improved interprofessional competency scales. Results support incorporating IPE simulation WB training to influence student perceptions of overweight and obese patients, cultivate stronger patient-provider relationships, and ultimately improve overall patient outcomes.