Dietetics has a diversity problem
It’s an issue that’s getting more and more attention: There isn’t enough diversity in the field of nutrition. With more than 42% of the U.S. population consisting of Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, Pacific Islander, and mixed-race Americans, you would expect these communities to have representation in every profession, including nutrition. But more than three quarters of RDs (registered dietitians) in the U.S. are white.
More representation would help RDs reach areas and groups of people that have typically been underserved. A diverse set of professionals would also bring more varied experiences and viewpoints, filling in knowledge gaps with their contributions.
Overcoming high barriers to entry
Why are people of color so underrepresented among RDs? Because the training is so expensive, wealth inequality can be an insurmountable obstacle. Aspiring RDs don't just have to pay for a bachelor’s degree and (starting in 2024) a master’s degree—they also have to cover the cost of their own internship, which averages roughly $8,000-$10,000. Overwhelmingly white faculties in degree programs can also leave aspiring RDs of color feeling alienated.
Having worked with RDs since the earliest days of Enlightened, we knew this was an issue that we couldn’t ignore. Our research led us to Diversify Dietetics: a non-profit organization with a mission “to increase the racial and ethnic diversity in the field of nutrition by empowering nutrition leaders of color.” We wanted to do everything we could to support these goals.
Enlightened gives back
To help Diversify Dietetics increase diversity in the nutrition field, we’ve donated a total of $50,000: $15,000 will go directly to Diversify Dietetics, and seven future RDs will each receive $5,000 grants to help pay for their 2021 studies.
As a company committed to better health for everyone, we recognize that reaching every community requires a diverse set of professionals. We look forward to watching the nutrition field grow and evolve!