Nathalie Towchik, Ed.D., is a 2024 graduate of the Ed.D. program in Educational and Professional Practice at Antioch University

Dr. Nathalie Towchik

Dissertation Committee

  • Lesley Jackson, PhD, Chairperson
  • Emiliano Gonzalez, PhD, Committee Member
  • Christina Davlin-Pater, PhD, ATC, EMT, Committee Member


cultural humility, cultural competency, athletic training, education, social justice, social determinants of health, patient centered care, implicit bias, qualitative research, qualitative interview, diversity, equity, and inclusion

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of this study is to understand the prevalence of faculty members’ abilities to incorporate cultural humility into their Masters of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) program curriculum and barriers they feel they face in implementing this into regular practice. There is a severe lack of focus on issues pertaining to social justice within the athletic training profession, and implementation of cultural humility skills into MSAT programs can help address the systemic injustices within athletic training healthcare delivery. While there has been a focus on cultural competency in athletic training education, there is little to no current research on cultural humility and how it is used in programs currently, nor how comfortable faculty members are with teaching their students cultural humility in intentional and effective ways. A qualitative method was utilized to explore the research question, and to understand perceived barriers to implementation of culturally humble training within the current curriculum. Faculty members at accredited institutions were interviewed virtually, and it was determined that cultural humility is taught to various degrees within differing programs. Student identity, faculty identity, social determinants of health, open-mindedness, and commitments to action are some themes identified within the work. Identified barriers include time, identity, and legislative restrictions. This study looks to provide a foundation so future research can shift the focus to patient-centered care techniques that will serve people of all identities and backgrounds. Athletic training needs to become a pioneer profession of equitable and compassionate healthcare, setting the standard for other professions to overcome systemic inequities that decrease the quality of care delivered to diverse and historically marginalized patient populations. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA ( and OhioLINK ETD Center (


ORCID: 0009-0000-0260-2169

Dr. Towchik on the sidelines of a basketball court consulting with a player.


As a certified athletic trainer for 7 years at a diverse high school in Ohio, I saw the many ways in which my athletic training education fell short of preparing me for all of the unexpected interactions I could have with athletes of various identities. While I was willing to do the work and learn to be better, not all of my colleagues were, which was the inspiration for this research. I wanted all student-athletes and patients, not just those in my care, to receive the highest quality and most equitable care possible from athletic trainers across the country. This work is a passion project, one meant to explore our current status in athletic training education, and a plan of action outlining next steps and the things we should do next as a profession to continue to enhance the quality of care we are able to provide. Cultural humility is a powerful framework through which we can change the landscape of sports medicine, and hopefully healthcare as a whole, to encourage all clinicians to remain humble, self-evaluative, and act as patient advocates throughout their careers.