MS, RDN, LDN
My name is Cassidy, I’ve been a dietitian for 3 years. I have worked as a supermarket RD, outpatient clinical, and now in a renal setting. I have a BS in nutrition, MS in medical nutrition, and my internship focus was in nutrition therapy. I think struggle for a lot of students of color is you automatically become a “race ambassador”. As a biracial person I was frustrated that the high rates of chronic disease in the black community was a common topic, but the 400 years of racism that caused that was noticeably absent from the conversation. There were very few students of color in my class, so even in cultural competency education I felt like how they described specific groups was not accurate when there was no one in our class who could even speak to most cultures described. Culture is just so much more than the words on a page.
My school did have a few classes with cultural competency tied in, but as an undergrad we only had one teacher of color in the entire department. This was especially weird because the city the college was located in is 50% black. It starts to get frustrating when you hear so much about diversity, and yet there is none. I think cultural education should be immersive, not just one assignment or paper about another culture. Having students spend a couple weeks rotation at a ESL center, volunteering with a local mosque or temple, something that really puts students in a place outside their comfort zone is where education happens. My biggest wish is that students stop, listen, and learn. Every person is different, even within the same culture. Listen to stories, listen to what is important to someone.
I am very proud that the diversity issue among dietetics is now starting to become a real movement. I remember CRYING after I passed my exam because here I am, with a master’s degree, something ancestors were robbed of. I can’t take all the credit my grandmother earned her bachelor’s in her 60s and my mom earned her master’s degree when I was a pre-teen