Promoting Diversity in Dietetic Education Programs by Creating an Inclusive Environment
A significant number of first generation college students, students of color, and students with marginalized identities begin a DPD program but do not move on to the supervised practice step, never becoming RDNs. Program faculty and area dietitians can help mitigate this loss by creating a more inclusive environment within dietetic education programs and providing students from underrepresented backgrounds with a level of support that better meets their needs, thereby improving likelihood of program completion. In 2016, the Simmons University Department of Nutrition received an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Diversity Promotion Grant to collaborate with local dietetics groups and the Simmons Nursing Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program to adapt a support model that had shown dramatic results in improving retention of ALANA nursing students. This session will discuss the adaptation of the highly successful Bridge and Mentoring Program model to our ACEND accredited programs (DPD, DI, and MSDI), highlighting collaboration with the local dietetics community. We will discuss lessons learned and offer action steps for other ACEND accredited programs.
- Describe barriers that students of color, students with marginalized identities, and first generation students face that inhibits their ability to complete an accredited program for future health professionals.
- Identify specific ways that ACEND accredited programs can create an inclusive environment that supports all students and impacts retention of students from marginalized communities.
- Identify partners for ACEND accredited programs to assist with the work of creating an inclusive environment and supporting students.
- 1.7.1 Recognizes and respects cultural and racial diverse backgrounds to effectively interact and build meaningful relationships
with others (e.g., clients, employees, inter- and intra-professional team members and community and professional groups).
- 9.1.2 Identifies and works to minimize and overcome barriers to learning.
- 9.3.2 Develops and/or selects a variety of learning activities based on a plan of action and outcomes, and the needs of the individual, group, community and population.
Assistant Director of Health Systems Transformation
Harvard Medical School – Center for Primary Care