Abstract: Advancing Racial Equity: A Systematic Review of Racial Equity Interventions (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

689P Advancing Racial Equity: A Systematic Review of Racial Equity Interventions

Sunday, January 19, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Allison De Marco, PhD, Advanced Research Scientist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carrboro, NC
Tiyobi Maereg, Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Daniel Kang, Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background and Purpose: Structural racism, the reality of institutional racism across all institutions, combining to create a system that negatively impacts communities of color (GARE, 2016), impacts our society by increasing disparities between people of color and white people in areas such as health, education and child welfare (Abramovitz & Blitz, 2015). Various institutions have attempted to address this through diversity and cultural competence training for their employees. However, an additional approach seeing more use is racial equity training to reduce racial and ethnic disparities (Carty et al., 2015; Johnson et al., 2009). This systematic review examines the empirical research on racial equity interventions across different fields to assess the impact on participants’ lives, the organizations in which they work and their communities.

Methods: A systematic review protocol was developed, including methods for literature searching, screening procedures, inclusion/exclusion and data extraction. Search terms included racial equity training, racial equity intervention, anti-racism train*, undoing racism train* + workshop*. Searches were performed using Summon and Google Scholar. Search parameters included: peer-reviewed; in English; conducted in the US; empirical and based on a racial equity, not diversity or cultural competency-focused. No limits were placed on publication dates because we expected a small number of articles to fit the inclusion criteria. We identified 742 titles that were screened at the title, abstract, and full-text levels using Covidence. We resolved disagreements through discussion until we reached consensus. This final stage of review, full text, resulted in 18 articles. We used a structured data abstracting form to gather field/industry, target population, study objective, methodology, type of intervention, key findings and limitations.

Results: Of the 18 studies, most were in health care (50%), child welfare (21.5%), higher education (21.5%), and business (7%). Racial equity workshops were largely two-day trainings provided by the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond or using the Undoing Racism framework. Most utilized a pre-post research design without a comparison group (78%). One article used a matched-comparison design (Hardeman et al., 2018). Most studies aimed to impact knowledge and behaviors and were largely successful. Of the articles, 86% addressed this level of change and found improvements at the individual level, including significant increases in knowledge of racism and its impact, recognition of internalized racism, and participant role in maintaining systems of oppression. A few (27%) also examined systems-level impacts, finding increases in awareness of institutional racism, understanding of gatekeeping, and plans to desegregate workplaces and develop more inclusive hiring practices.

Conclusions & Implications: This systematic review of racial equity interventions demonstrates that such interventions exist and can be effective in increasing individual skills and knowledge related to racism and its impacts. Some of the studies found positive effects for institutions. This suggests their effectiveness in the fields studied. However, few of the studies employed comparison groups or longitudinal designs. Moreover, many lacked detailed descriptions of the racial equity interventions utilized. Future research should include longitudinal designs to determine longer-terms impacts and to determine whether individual changes lead to systemic changes in the participants’ organizations.