In one of my previous roles as a Registered Dietitian, I regularly taught cooking classes for adults on healthy eating on a budget. Since space was limited, I took many of the class registrations over the phone, which included asking registrants if they had any food allergies so that I could adapt recipes if necessary.
Once, one of the people registering over the phone joked to me that it was a good thing we weren’t eating Chinese food because she was allergic to dogs. I identify as mixed-race Chinese American and was too stunned by the casual racism to say anything. I’ve always wondered if the woman realized that she’d made that joke to the wrong person after she met me during the class.
Hi I’m Feraz, the host of @rdexampodcast and I am also a university professor. I am currently conducting my doctoral dissertation on diversity in dietetics, which I have been working on since 2018 while enrolled in a doctorate program concentrated in social justice, social change, and equity. Being in this program has elucidated many concepts that I feel are relevant to diversity in dietetics such as the concepts of micro-aggressions, Critical Race Theory, and Sense of Belonging. After studying and absorbing these concepts, among others, I am now exploring the stories of BIPOC dietetic program graduates in their pursuit of becoming dietitians because I feel stories from BIPOC individuals could serve as sources of empowerment, inform future diversity initiatives, and amplify BIPOC voices. I’m really passionate about diversifying the field as doing so may better reflect the patient population, ensure equity, cultural competence, and reduce disparities in the delivery of care.
I identify as a first-generation South Asian American male with ancestors from both India and Pakistan. I’m thankful that I have a strong cultural foundation instilled in me by my family, even though I barely saw any other South Asians in the small central California town that I lived. While going through my dietetics journey, I rarely saw any other BIPOC dietetic students/professionals. I feel platforms such as @nutritiondiversified are so integral in highlighting the voices of the BIPOC community and I sincerely thank this account for its amazing work. I am ecstatic that more discussions are being had regarding how to improve diversity in dietetics and look forward to seeing a more diverse field.
I was chatting with a coworker about our favorite cultural foods (coworker is Colombian, I am Puerto Rican) and my white manager butts in and says “Wow, don’t you guys have any healthy food, do you?” I immediately felt defensive and tried to spout off some healthy cultural foods of ours, to be met with a dismissive, “Sounds like a lot of carbs.” It made me sad to think that she has been a nutrition professional for 20 something years and has been similarly dismissing her clients for that long.
My name is Elizabeth Gutiérrez, and I go by she/her pronouns. In May of 2020, I received my bachelors degree in food science and human nutrition with a concentration in dietetics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). I am now pursuing my Master’s Degree at UIUC in nutritional sciences where I will also complete my dietetic internship in the Fall.
My current interests in dietetics are community nutrition with a focus on health behaviors that acknowledges the barriers due to racism, weight stigma, etc. As I have learned more about the intersectionality of these issues, it’s hard to ignore.
Before entering the dietetic program as a transfer student, I was not aware of the lack of diversity. I never thought much of it until I heard the statistics regarding minorities/males in the profession.
When it comes to cultural competence education in accredited schools, I believe that it isn’t a one lecture or a highlighted feature section of a certain class. I think that as a future healthcare professional, learning needs to be happening throughout the entire process of the program. You don’t learn about the how, why, what all in one class when trying to address someone’s reasoning for adhering to your recommendations or not. More work needs to be done, and work can be done at every level- individual and organizational.
I think that we can create a more inclusive space by always listening first. Someone’s lived experience is always valid.
Follow me at @nutrition4theaveragejoe to watch me go through the the rest of my dietetic journey with some yummy food along the way!
When I was applying to dietetic internships, my DPD director told me that I should apply to places in South Texas, where there’s a lot of people that don’t speak English. I said no, I want to stay here. I don’t know anybody in South Texas even though I am Hispanic. She then said she wouldn’t see me matching anywhere else.
I am a Chinese American dietitian focused on plant-based nutrition and building a more sustainable food system.
Growing up in East Los Angeles, I was surrounded by mostly Chinese and Mexican culture. My parents immigrated from Taiwan and as a first gen kid, I didn’t know dietetics was a profession till I decided to change my career in 2010. Food policy ignited my passion for dietetics and I’ve never looked back.
As a culinary trained dietitian, I’ve been able to build a fulfilling career as a brand consultant and educator. I’ve worked in and built programs for food insecure communities and continue to advocate for food equity. I am actively involved in our professional association at the local and national level as one of the few leaders of color. I encourage everyone to speak up for things they’d like to see changed in our profession. We need more diverse voices and more people engaged to change the system. The future of our profession needs you.
When I joined my dietetics course BSc Hons Dietetics in the UK I was stunned to be 1 of 3 females from a south Asian background. The rest of the induction class consisted of white middle class girls who had their preppy water bottles and overpriced notepads and pens. Automatically felt like I didn’t belong there. And when I became friends with other BAME dietetic students, it was so nice to share to load and pressure of standing as a woman of colour in a white room.
Although our friendship group became almost unapproachable from the class dynamic. When I went on placement in a nursing home, the dementia patients (mostly white again) were fixated on talking about my roots and background instead of discussing nutrition. It was always “my father fought as part of the British army in India” “you must be a curry muncher” or some other insensitive colonised comment. I’ve had racists remarks on placement too being shouted racial slurs to and from work. I love what I do, but having to constantly fight for diversity is exhausting. Why do we always have to push for our voices to be heard. Why can’t we be seen equal to our white counterparts? I’m so happy to be able to have this opportunity and platform to speak anonymously about how I feel.
I am researcher, food policy advocate and nutrition coach on a mission to heal people and the planet through food. As the first-generation daughter of Turkish-Cypriot immigrants and war survivors, I learned at a young age to view food as a tool for healing, compassion, and unity. After nearly a decade in medical research, I left my job in Los Angeles and moved across the country to follow my true passion to develop and advocate for food and nutrition programs that sustain human, ecological, and communal well-being.
Since completing my Master of Science in Food and Nutrition Policy and Programs at @Tufts_Nutrition and DPD at @Simmons.Nutrition, I have founded a budding international food and climate justice organization that leverages the unique role of food and nutrition professionals to cultivate a more just, regenerative, and climate-resilient future for all, called the @PlanetaryHealthCollective. Applying these same values, I also launched an inclusive and earth-conscious nutrition coaching program to help womxn heal their gut and restore natural energy without sacrificing the joy or culture of food. I am currently a Dietetic Intern at @MGH_DI.
The field of nutrition and dietetics must evolve to meet the needs of our diverse patient populations. White, Eurocentric nutrition guidance should not be the default in our training. Inclusivity, curiosity, and adaptability must be at the center of our practical approach to medical nutrition, and to that end, accredited dietetic programs must make every effort to recruit, financially support, and mentor BIPOC and immigrant students and educators seeking to enter the field.
When I was applying to DICAS, my DPD director told me that I should just get my diet tech instead. She said I wasn’t likely to get matched since my GPA wasn’t high enough, especially considering I am Asian American.
My name is Kimberly Korff, and I received my bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Missouri State University and completed my dietetic internship at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL. I’m now a registered dietitian in rural Iowa. While studying nutrition in undergrad, I frequently thought, “All we are talking about is American food, I hardly eat any of this. America is so diverse – how is any of this knowledge going to help people who don’t eat typical American food?” I felt compelled to incorporate my knowledge of foods and culture around the world into my future career as a dietitian. But being one of the two non-white students in my program, I felt alone in this. It wasn’t until I entered into the greater body of dietitians that I was relieved to find there were many multicultural dietitians who had similar stories (and palates) to mine. I’ve learned just how important representation is, to know people who have the same background or ideals as you, to make you confident you can be yourself and you can bring ALL of your ideas and skills to the table. Growing up as a third-culture kid in the Philippines with a Hawaiian-Japanese mother and midwestern dad, I’ve always eaten foods from different cultures. There are so many nutritious and delicious foods people miss out on just because the foods are from an unfamiliar culture. This is my passion – showing people the world of wonderful healthy foods that are native to countries and cultures other than the United States. All foods fit!