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Weight Bias and Stigma in Physiotherapy Practice

20 January 2022

This thought-provoking webinar discusses the issue of weight stigma in physiotherapy practice. Building on research conducted in 2020, the presentation provides insight into the patient experience of weight stigma (also known as fat shaming) when receiving health-care services. Physiotherapists will leave the session with increased insight into how weight stigma is enacted, and how it can be prevented within physiotherapy practice.

Please note: The webinar has been recorded and made available for on-demand viewing. However, the speakers shared some content during the live presentation which has not been included in the recording due to access permissions. A portion of the original presentation, the movie “The Gallery: Bringing Voices to Fat Bodies” which gives voice to members of the public who have had experiences with weight stigma in physiotherapy is not available for on-demand viewing. 


Patricia Thille, PT, PhD is a sociologist and physiotherapist, who works as an Assistant Professor in Physical Therapy at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Thille applies critical social scientific theories and a range of qualitative methodologies in her health services and health professions education research. Her work focuses on stigmatization, health behaviour change, and chronic disease management in primary care and rehabilitation settings.

Sandra Webber, PT, PhD is a physical therapist and researcher in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Manitoba. In her research, Dr. Webber frequently uses technology to provide objective measures of activity performance (what people do in their everyday lives in terms of physical activity and sedentary behaviour). She is also interested in studying educational issues relevant to physical therapy to ensure that future clinicians are able to meet the needs of the populations they serve.

Liz Harvey, PT, PhD Student, is a physiotherapist and Senior Instructor at the University of Manitoba. Ms. Harvey is also a PhD student who contributed to the 2020 project; she will be studying physiotherapy identity development in her PhD studies.  

Click here to watch the webinar.

Course Materials

Weight Bias and Stigma in Physiotherapy Practice Handout

Note: Physiotherapy Alberta - College + Association operates as The College of Physiotherapist of Alberta as of April 2022

Page updated: 26/04/2022