My name is Mich Zwinger, a registered dietitian. I am brand-stinking new in the dietetics field and am so excited to jump into work. I am currently working on launching Sun City Nutrition & Wellness, a private nutrition practice. On my Instagram page, I share simple eats and evidenced-based nutrition information to help individuals find their nutrition.
It is quite simple how I got into nutrition. I grew up playing sports and discovered pretty early on the role that nutrition played. I have always been interested in nutrition but never saw it as a career path. It wasn’t until I got to college that I discovered what an RD was. I was deep in my biochemistry major and I realized that I absolutely hated it. After some contemplating, I met with my counselor and decided to switch majors.
My decision to switch to a dietetics major came with little support from my college advisor. He questioned my ability to make it through my DPD course and displayed a total lack of belief in my abilities.
When I begin my nutrition courses I was not surprised by the lack of diversity. I had grown accustomed to being the only black person in the room. However, this was a huge contrast to my previous college courses that had greater displays of diversity. The majority of my classmates and professors were white. I witnessed the same thing during my internship. The director, the coordinators – all white. My preceptors were all white, excluding one preceptor who was half Asian. To this day I am the first black dietitian that I know.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that Black Dietitians do exist. And I feel that if it wasn’t for the Black Lives Matter movement and other recent events, I would not have been able to unearth Black RDs on Instagram.
By now I think most people are beginning to understand the value and significance of diversity and representation. If all you see and read is white, then how can you as a professional address the needs of ethnically and culturally diverse individuals or groups. I believe that a practitioner that is the same race or ethnicity as a minority patient can provide more effective care than a professional with a different background. And I am so happy that we are moving towards diversity and inclusion in the dietetics field.
When thinking about the next steps and somethings that you can do as an individual, it’s important to recognize your own biases. What are the judgments you form based on someone’s looks, language, education, or culture? Everyone has biases but it is important to understand that these biases are not fact. Next, take the time to learn. Consider becoming a mentor to underrepresented groups of students and connect them to resources.”