Diversify Dietetics Empowers Nutrition Leaders of Color

by Marissa Sheldon, MPH
Diversify Dietetics

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Diversify Dietetics

What They Do: Diversify Dietetics is a nonprofit organization that empowers students and professionals of color who are interested in careers in nutrition and dietetics. They provide scholarships and grants, a mentorship program, an internship program, internship application support, a volunteer program, and disseminate information via webinars, a podcast, and online resources. 

How They Do It: 

  • Memberships: Students and professionals can pay a yearly fee ($25 for students or $120 for professionals) to gain access to the Diversify Dietetics webinars and job board, as well as special pricing for events. Membership is not required to participate in the organization’s other programs, which are open to people of color as well as white allies.
  • Scholarships and Grants: Diversify Dietetics offers scholarships and awards grants to provide financial assistance to people of color who are interested in a career in nutrition. These financial awards are given to students, current and future dietetic interns, registered dietitians preparing for the RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) exam, and nutrition professionals. Applicants must identify as a person of color and live in the United States. In 2022, grants ranged from $500 to $10,000 and were provided by organizations including Kroger Health,  the National Dairy Council, and All Access Dietetics.  
  • Mentor Program: Students, interns, and professionals can join this program. Participants are assigned to small community groups based on interests and goals. Each group has at least one facilitator, and the groups decide when and how often to meet (monthly or bi-monthly is recommended). Mentees identify as people of color who are studying or working in the field of nutrition. Mentors may be of any racial or ethnic background (not only people of color) and must be willing to offer their support and share their experiences with the mentees. People of color may be both mentors and mentees at the same time. 
  • Dietetic Internship Program: The mission of the internship program is to prepare graduates to be culturally-sensitive registered dietitian nutritionists. Preselected applicants may also apply for a scholarship to help cover tuition costs and some program-related expenses. The program is offered as a distance internship, in which interns complete their rotations in the geographic location of their choice in order to reduce relocation costs. A local option may also be completed in the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area. Teachers are members of the Diversify Dietetics community. The requirements for a graduate degree education can be completed through the University of Alabama’s Master of Science in Human Nutrition online program or Georgia State University’s Master of Science in Nutrition online program.
  • Internship Application Support Program: Students of color may sign up to receive support through the dietetic internship application process. Dietetics educators and professionals are asked to volunteer to support students in the program by assisting with resumes, reviewing personal statements, and preparing for interviews. 
  • Volunteer Program: Students, interns, and professionals who identify as people of color may join a six-month volunteer program that runs either from January through June or from August through December. Volunteers must commit to at least one hour of work per week throughout the session in areas such as membership engagement, webinar development, social media, Diversify Dietetics Summit, mentor program, and community research.
  • Events: Virtual and in-person events are held to increase networking opportunities for people of color. The virtual Annual Summit features speakers who work in diverse communities, and the organization launched an in-person communication and media training workshop last year.
  • Recorded webinars are available online, free for Diversify Dietetics members or for a fee for non-members. Topics include sports nutrition, recipe development, working with food brands, starting a private practice, and how to make more money.
  • Diversify Dietetic’s Feed Me the Facts Podcast discusses topics designed specifically for dietetic students, interns, and professionals of color, with an overall emphasis on how to grow and thrive as a nutrition professional.  

Mission: To increase the racial and ethnic diversity in the field of nutrition by empowering nutrition leaders of color.

Latest project/campaign: The mentor program was recently revamped to use the small group format rather than a one-on-one matching system. The group model allows students, interns, and professionals to learn from and support one another, which creates a greater support system than a one-on-one relationship.  

Major Funding: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, Community Wealth Partners, Share Our Strength

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $460,000

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Less than 13 percent of dietitians identify as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority, and this number has not changed in the past 10 years. Patients of color are less likely to seek medical care and less likely to trust medical professionals whom they perceive as being socially and ethnically different from themselves, which exacerbates the fact that racial and ethnic minorities have disproportionately higher rates of illness and premature death compared to their white counterparts. Diversify Dietetics aims to increase the diversity of nutrition professionals, which will also encourage more patients of color to seek and receive care. 


2451 Cumberland Pkwy
Suite 3861 
Atlanta, GA 30339

Core Programs: Scholarships and grants, mentor program, dietetic internship application support, volunteering, webinars, podcast

Number of staff: 5

Number of volunteers: 3 Board of Directors, 10 Advisory Council, 120 in volunteer program 

Areas served: Nationwide

Year Started: 2018

Executive Director: Tamara S. Melton, MS, RDN, CPHIMS

Contact Information: info@diversifydietetics.org 

Website: https://www.diversifydietetics.org/ 

Learn More: 

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