So I was working an entry level position, in a nutrition call center for a hospital. I was hired at the corporate office & given various tasks besides answering the phones. The supervisors, as well as HR, on site would often share how they wanted me to work up and become a supervisor while I continue my education (because they were aware I’m studying to become a dietitian/professor). I’d created training modules, trained employees, visited clinical sites to shadow dietitians, and the list goes on.
My picture was plastered, my t-shirt ideas were used, etc. Well… our department manager was leaving and the management team wanted me to apply for his position. I’d checked and checked for the position online & never had luck. One random day we received an email that we were getting a new department manager with no nutrition background whatsoever. And guess who was responsible for training the new manager? Yours truly. Odd right?
When I simply asked, “why?” they said I wasn’t good enough for the position. Interesting. The new manager would try to boast me up to the other employees and all these other shenanigans. A little time passed, and I was eventually fired. During the meeting to discuss firing me (HAHA), the supervisors said they will in fact use my hard work as their own. I did try to report the situation with no luck…
And trust me there is so much more to the story than this.
I became interested in nutrition when I was diagnosed with multiple food allergies and PCOS within the same year. I was a vegetarian at the time and felt really confused and lost. This was made worse by the fact that when I went to visit my family it felt like I could no longer eat our traditional foods … on top of feeling confused and scared about my health, I felt isolated from my culture. I realized later that the foods from my culture actually were supportive of my health goals, I had just been fed the wrong message by mainstream wellness culture. As I started my graduate program in nutrition, I started hearing the same thing from other Latinos constantly … we felt like we needed extra help with nutrition because our foods were inherently unhealthy. Not only do I not believe this to be true, I believe perpetuating this myth harms the Latinx community and prevents us from getting the public health resources and attention we need.
I’ve made it my mission to dive deep into the health and nutrition of Latin food culture, to dispel this myth, and to empower Latinxs to own their health by honoring their culture, instead of choosing between the two.
Hello! My name is Lauren Bickford, and my Potawatomi name is Waskonekwe. Growing up I lived in a very middle class very white area in the Midwest. Diversity was truly not present in my early years. I completed my DPD/MS/DI combined program at Boston University. During my internship at Boston Medical Center I had the opportunity to complete my community rotation at South Boston Community Health Center. The dietetics textbooks could not teach me anything close to what I was learning from the patients I was supporting. I found cultural knowledge was the most important factor in being a supportive member of their team. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned so much about my own culture and Native American ancestors, including my grandmother, pictured with me above. Of all the things I did while visiting my grandma, picking tomatoes from the garden was always at the top of the list. Gardening is now something I’ve started to really enjoy as an adult and I’ve learned about the importance of gardening for my Native ancestors. Corn, squash, and beans are known as The Three Sisters. Grown together, these plants help each other thrive. Turns out, their nutrition profiles compliment each other too. This ancient nutrition knowledge is seen so often in Native history. Yet only 0.3% of Registered Dietitians are Native American. I’ve loved volunteering with @diversifydietics – an organization committed to changing the stats of the dietetics field. So let’s learn from the ancestral nutrition wisdom of tribe, stop white-washing community nutrition programs, and make some space for the next generation of Native Dietitians.
Hello! My name is Prab and I was born and raised in Canada, surrounded by many diverse ethnic communities including my own Punjabi-Sikh community. I have attended a few universities in different Canadian cities over the years including @uottawa, @mcgillu, and finally @bresciauc, where I completed my BSc Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics. I then completed my dietetic internship at Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ontario.
During my journey to becoming a dietitian, I became aware of the limited representation of BIPOC dietitians. This led me to start my private practice, NutriKaur, so that my Punjabi-Sikh community, and anyone else following a plant-based diet, could have the option of seeing a health professional with similar lived experiences. I am excited for the push for diversity currently happening in our profession as I believe this will improve the ability of dietitians to provide truly client-centred care!
As a Korean and Chinese American, I have experienced a variety of cultures and values within my own background and here where I grew up. As I studied in nutrition and dietetics at New York University (a hubbub of cultures), I learned so much more about other cultures and health disparities. Although we are often taught in school the value of cultural competence, I hold this as a priority for myself as well. Experiencing all kinds of discrimination pushes me to stand up for what’s right in my work and my personal life. Even now more than ever, I find it crucial to continue to learn and educate others on the struggles of POC related to health and history. Our healthcare system is not perfect and can always improve in this regard and I will 100% be a part of that change towards equality.
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.”
I am a bilingual dietitian specializing in the area of integrative nutrition, gut health and diabetes.
My exploration in integrative nutrition began more than five years ago as I studied dietetics, herbal medicine, diabetes care, and then completed my integrative medicine training. Today, I use food and lifestyle medicine to help people with their never-ending digestive issues and uncontrolled diabetes get their health back under control.
When I became a dietitian, there were very few RDs of color. Today, I feel humble and happy to be a role model for those interns and colleagues that look like me and want to do non-traditional roles in the profession. It is exciting to see how the profession is becoming more diverse.
Hi everyone, my name is Nour Musharbash and I am a Masters student in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Being someone who has always loved travelling, I have had the opportunity to interacted with many people from various cultures, allowing me to recognize, accept, and celebrate the differences between everyone.After living in Jordan my entire life, I moved to Canada to start my dietetics journey with the goal of becoming a Registered Dietitian. Living in a culturally diverse society, being part of an inclusive nutrition community, and working along many international people has made me view life from another perspective, as well as continuously learn more about everyone’s culture, traditions, and history. I am very fortunate to have met so many BIPOC colleagues and I look forward to meeting many more in the near future.
My name is Christabel Menezes and my pronouns are she/her. I moved to Mississauga in 2014 and am currently a second year nutrition student at Ryerson University in Toronto. Being born and raised in the UAE, I was always surrounded by diversity. Along with my undergrad, I’m pursuing a minor in psychology, a certificate in food security and a research concentration.
As a woman of Indian origin, I feel extremely fortunate to be in a mosaic society that celebrates culture. I love nutrition and its intersectionality with other fields, the range of career options and the involvement with community. Living in the GTA allows me to continue immersing myself in my culture, while providing me with the opportunity to learn from and experience other unique cuisines. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by BIPOC role models at home, at work with @oneelephanthealth and surrounded by my ambitious friends. I hope this page eventually becomes a resource for nutrition professionals looking to develop their cultural competency and continue learning.