BASc, ’18; MAN, ’21
Hey there, my name is Bhavin! I am a Registered Dietitian “in-training” and will hopefully be fully licensed in fall 2021. I began my post-secondary education at the University of Guelph where I graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Child, Youth & Family in 2016. I wanted to become a teacher at first, so this was my route for quite some time. However, I became increasingly interested in the field of nutrition and came across dietetics as a possible career choice. I went off to complete Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Nutrition & Food at Ryerson University. Thankfully completed the program in 2 years and graduated in 2018. Fast forward and that brings me to today—I’m so excited to be heading into the Master of Applied Nutrition program at the University of Guelph where I will complete my accredited combined masters-internship program. I’m very excited for this journey!
My interests stem heavily from working with younger populations (children/youth). Many of my previous work experiences have involved working with children in some capacity. I would like to explore pediatric dietetics at some point in my career. I’m also interested in examining the nutrition education system on a provincial and national level. I strongly believe that the current state of the nutrition education curriculum needs to be transformed to adequately represent the current research and evidence in the field.
I definitely think that cultural competency and diversity are two very important areas that are lacking in dietetics. Out of all the classes in my undergrad, I took ONE that could be considered a “diversity-related” class and it was called ‘Cultural Aspects of Food’ at UofG. While it was a great course and we learned a lot about different cuisines and cultural foods, it was taught by a Caucasian female American professor. Within Dietitians of Canada, you can see the lack of representation of marginalized groups. While I believe that most nutrition and dietetic students are open and accepting of diversity, we are not adequately trained in this area throughout undergrad and post-grad dietetic programs. As I’ve addressed before in my letter to Dietitians of Canada, it is not enough to believe that all RDs/students are culturally sensitive, aware, and accepting of diversity. It’s not enough to assume that dietetic students/RDs have the proper training and knowledge of cultural competency, the social determinants of health, and how to effectively incorporate these into very important issues into practice.
I do believe that accredited institutions need to shift the focus of dietetic programs to courses related to anti-racism, diversity, and multiculturalism courses. Understanding and learning about the history of colonialism in Canada and the oppression of BIPOC individuals in Canada (and around the world) is pertinent to practicing as a “competent” RD. Although core science and nutrition courses are very important to the overall training as a RD, the average client/patient/individual will not fit a “cookie-cutter” westernized/North American diet, especially in a nation as diverse as Canada. Incorporating cultural foods, being mindful of religious/cultural values and norms, and adhering to dietary restrictions or limitations are all very important aspects of the professional aspects of dietetics. There are definite barriers in the dietetic profession that need to be brought to life and made aware of. As a person of colour myself, I do sometimes feel like I have worked harder than my white colleagues. As a brown male in a white female dominated industry, I hold two of the most uncommon demographics as a dietitian-to-be. Although, I have experienced barriers to work/volunteer opportunities throughout my years, I’m confident that I will use those experiences to fuel growth and development both professionally and personally. The profession needs change…NOW! Support your BIPOC colleagues, followers and friends. Show up, represent them, do the work and support the movement.