The California Academy’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Taskforce met several times to identify issues and solutions to increase diversity in the membership. The Diversity is defined to be inclusive of race, social class, ethnicity, religion, age, gender identify, sexual orientations, physical ability or attributes, political beliefs, national origin, areas of practice, students, dietitians, diet technicians, and the intersectionality.
When I took on the role of the President for the second time around, I realized the need to increase diversity within our organization. Therefore, I and the Executive Board members voted to formed a DEI taskforce to identify issues, challenges, and for the task force to provide solutions and recommendations to the Executive Board members to be more inclusive and provide diversity in our organization.
The taskforce is consisted of 32 members and the Executive Board, who were self-nominated after a call for formation of the taskforce. I am very pleased to see that we have many members, who are interested in this topic and wanted to see the change in our professional organization. The group met three times over the past three-months and the following recommendations were submitted by the group to the California Academy’s Executive Board.
The DEI taskforce expressed and recommended the following:
- Form a DEI committee and provide a liaison to the executive board.
- Create a California Academy Consensus Statement on Health, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Create a “best practice” manual for inclusivity in the California dietetic community.
- Create a volunteer program that supports dietitians to be engaging with community and youth to share the food, nutrition, and wellness programs as well as resources.
- Invest in the communities by having dietetic professionals participate in the activities, which will provide exposure of the profession to the community members as a recruitment tool.
- Advocate for a diversity requirement in Continuing Professional Education on cultural competency or diversity similar to the requirement for Ethics (this requires CDR, may be our representatives to the AND House of Delegates can start a conversation).
- Provide DEI training for individuals, organizations, and corporations associated with California Academy.
- Advocate for scholarships and activities to support diversity in all areas of dietetics including ways to support future and present dietitians, who may need resources to be successful (possibly work with California Academy Foundation for establishment of funds to support students and interns). Some examples, but not inclusive list, include provide funding and support for the Academy membership fees, conference fees, scholarship and grants for tuition and fees for supervised-practice experience and graduate programs.
- Work with ACEND to accredit additional DPD and supervised-practice programs that do not base admission on GPA and flexible graduate degree requirements to meet the January, 2024, mandate.
- Work with state MIG members to solicit volunteers, ideas, and resources.
- Advocate for changes in ACEND and internship to provide employment while completing dietetic supervised-practice program and graduate degree programs.
- Provide training for identification and methods to interrupt aggressive behaviors, microaggressions, and stereotyping – provide ways to allow people to express their points of view and identify as well as ways to stop racism and social injustices at all levels.
- Provide a tool for discussion of perspectives for diversity and inclusion from community organizations, other healthcare, and professional organizations.
- Increase inclusive messaging to confront stereotyping and conformation to social norms by removing the singular voice and narrow group of voice
- SOGIE: LGBTQ/self-identification, preferred pronouns, etc.
- Be like us, do this do that, proper language (good/bad/better, healthy/healthier)
- Create messages that are inclusive
- Tailor education and messaging to community, ethnic, and cultural groups
- Bring all voices to the table and even though all food can fit, but perception is reality
- Leadership should look more like the population we are serving
- Health at Every Size: messaging to not use stigmatizing terms like obesity, overweight to describe body shapes and types
- Empower members to stay involved, engaged, and keep up conversations on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: encourage members to become volunteers, take on leadership roles and positions, nominating committee needs to work with DEI committee to identify and nominate people to diversity the leadership positions.
- Make diversity a legislative priority.
- Recognize the RDNs to be the first responders and essential employees.
The task force recommendations are very extensive and specific. It will take a collective commitment of the California Academy membership, Executive Board, and Councils to accomplish these tasks. The organization and members will need to make an ongoing commitment to and conscious effort to be a part of the solution, to not only complete these tasks, but to continuously ensure that our strategic goals, objectives, and actions prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our activities, projects, and actions.
As the President of California Academy, I recommend that we elevate the process by adding a Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the Executive Board. The council formed will take the recommendations provided and form committees to develop plans, propose activities and projects to implement them. The Executive Board is considering this idea for further discussion in the next board meeting on February 3. If you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas that you want to share with the board, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com. I thank you for your support of this very important activity and I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Dorothy Chen Maynard, President
November 6, 2020