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Meet the Winners of the HUM x Diversify Dietetics 2022 Grant

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Meet the spectacular winners of the HUM x Diversify Dietetics 2022 grant: three aspiring dietitians who’re captivated with making the world a happier, more healthy place for everybody.

Turning into a dietitian isn’t any small feat: Along with incomes a bachelor’s diploma, RDs are required to tackle a number of extra years of education and internships plus tuition and examination prices. Such boundaries typically forestall folks from coming into the sphere of dietetics, which has precipitated a scarcity of range within the discipline.

Vitamin and wholesome habits are an important a part of stopping persistent illness. Illustration of pros to assist populations which can be disproportionately affected by persistent illness (partially on account of socioeconomic and social justice-related points) is important. 

That’s the place Diversify Dietetics is available in. Their goal is to extend the racial and ethnic range within the discipline of diet by empowering diet leaders of coloration.

At HUM Vitamin, certainly one of our core values is range. We imagine that together with totally different backgrounds and views is important to each discipline, together with dietetics. The shortage of illustration in diet might forestall folks from searching for out the skilled assist they should stay a contented, wholesome life—and we need to assist change that. We’ve partnered with Diversify Dietetics to supply a grant of $24,000 whole to 3 aspiring dietitians. (Study extra about our partnership and the problems going through underrepresented college students who want to enter the sphere.) Grant recipients can even have full entry to the sturdy Diversify Dietetics neighborhood and programming, which incorporates however isn’t restricted to workshops, webinars, and mentorship packages.

Get to know the three winners of the 2022 HUM x Diversify Dietetics grant. These three people are captivated with reaching communities which can be typically underrepresented and due to this fact underserved within the discipline of diet. They’re as decided to make the world a happier, more healthy place for everybody as we’re. We’re proud to assist them do it.

Dennie Byam

Dennie Byam headshot

What Space of Dietetics Are You Most Passionate About?

I’m most captivated with schooling and advocacy, which I imagine go hand in hand. I’m captivated with public coverage advocacy as a result of this space will enable me to make use of my schooling and coaching in regulation and litigation to assist zealously advocate for well being care and meals entry and educate my neighborhood within the areas of well being fairness, illness prevention, and therapy. I’ve all the time tried to guide a wholesome way of life, and I’m now extra outfitted to delve into this space of dietetics with my authorized coaching in addition to my schooling and understanding of diet.

How And Why Did You Get Concerned in Diversify Dietetics?

I discovered about Diversify Dietetics by means of my dietetic program director, Dr. Katherine Burt. I attended the knowledge session and discovered that the mission of Diversify Dietetics is to extend the racial and ethnic range within the discipline of diet by empowering diet leaders of coloration.

I believed that I match proper in for a number of causes. To begin, I’m a minority who grew up in a family with an Italian-American stepfather and a Caribbean (Antiguan) mom, so I grew up uncovered to Italian, Antiguan, and Black-American tradition. I grew up in New York, however I went to undergrad within the South and regulation college within the Midwest, so each time I moved, I skilled new cultures.  As a member of my sorority, I’m uncovered to anybody and everybody in Westchester County who attends our occasions. CUNY Lehman can be within the Bronx, which is a really various college and metropolis. All of those experiences have contributed to my open-minded nature, which is why I do know I can contribute significantly to the sphere of dietetics.  

What Have Been the Greatest Obstacles You’ve Needed to Overcome in Your Journey to Turning into an RD? 

The most important impediment that I needed to overcome in my journey to turning into an RD is returning to high school full-time whereas nonetheless training regulation full-time in the course of the international pandemic. This was difficult for a number of causes. Working full-time and going to high school full-time is exhausting: I used to be going straight from work to high school in the course of the week. Throughout some semesters, I had weekend lessons. It was additionally tough adjusting to work and college in the course of the pandemic. I began at Lehman in June 2020, so loads of the programming was nonetheless being tweaked since every thing was unsure.  Moreover, my academic background is in public relations and regulation. Science was a brand new academic problem that I wanted to be taught and regulate to shortly as this diploma has loads of science. All of those components mixed made getting this diploma difficult, however I accomplished it in six semesters by going to high school continuous for the previous two years.

What Is Your Favourite Snack or Go-To Meal?

I’ve a serious candy tooth and I’m Caribbean-American, so my favourite snack is fruit. Extra particularly, mangos and pineapples, however I additionally love a berry medley with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. Fruit is my favourite snack as a result of I do know that I’m consuming one thing nutritious, and (particularly with the berry medley), filled with antioxidants.

Karina Castillo

Karina Castillo headshot

How And Why Did You Get Concerned in Diversify Dietetics?

The mission and imaginative and prescient of Diversify Dietetics strongly resonate with me on knowledgeable and private stage. A lot of my internships and volunteer experiences have been centered on working with marginalized communities, particularly these of Latinx heritage. One such expertise was my internship as a Spanish translator at a neighborhood clinic for anticipating moms. I discovered that a lot of them had little to no schooling on how you can handle their gestational diabetes. 

These interactions hit a private be aware–as a first-generation Mexican-American, I grew up listening to related tales at house. When my mom emigrated from Mexico, she discovered herself in a equally precarious place throughout her first being pregnant: unsupported and with out data of or entry to correct diet. Now, with a level in diet underneath my belt, I higher perceive simply how weak my mom’s state of affairs was and that her state of affairs is sadly removed from distinctive on this nation. There’s a clear want for immigrants and first-generation Latinx people to be taught invaluable well being and diet expertise so as to achieve a brand new nation. 

What Have Been the Greatest Obstacles You’ve Needed to Overcome in Your Journey to Turning into an RD? 

From 2019 to 2021, I used to be working 50 hours per week at two jobs to economize to pay for a portion of my grasp’s program. Then, my father was abruptly identified with end-stage pancreatic most cancers and handed away April, sixteenth 2021. This was probably the most surprising and heartbreaking second of my life. I moved again in with my mother to assist her pay the home mortgage and in addition present emotional assist. These drastic adjustments took a toll on my psychological well being, and I needed to depart certainly one of my jobs to deal with my loss. I labored all all through my first semester at UCS, struggling to finish tasks and deadlines. I’m at present a full-time scholar and dietetic intern, and have stopped working, which has made home and college funds much more tough. This scholarship means rather a lot to me and my mother, because it has helped relieve among the stress related to every college invoice.

What Has Been One of many Most Fascinating Issues You’ve Realized in Your Journey?

All through my journey in dietetics, I’ve discovered an awesome deal about simply how necessary correct diet is for people. Just lately, I discovered in regards to the numerous impacts that affect an individual’s longevity and well being span. Shockingly, residing in poverty shortens the lifespan and will increase the early onset of most ailments by 15 years. This may, partially, be attributed to the dietary challenges offered whereas residing in poverty corresponding to insufficient entry to contemporary meals and a scarcity of diet schooling. Individuals of coloration disproportionately expertise poverty in america and, on account of that, might fall into this disheartening statistic. I imagine this emphasizes the significance of range in dietetics. As various dietitians, we will join and help the neighborhood we grew up in to assist change these disparities. 

What Is Your Favourite Snack or Go-To Meal?

My favourite meals, which I’m all the time blissful to snack on, is cheese. Cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella—I really like all cheese! A grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup is my go-to consolation meals. 

Rachel Ashley Parungao Reyes

Rachel Ashley Parungao headshot

What Drew You to the Subject of Dietetics?

My household and my very own private well being impressed me to pursue dietetics. I’ve been blessed with such fantastic dad and mom and a wonderful childhood rising up within the Mariana Islands. Nonetheless, as a toddler, I stood by my mom’s aspect as we accompanied my father to medical appointments and operations for kidney stones and coronary heart surgical procedures. Watching and supporting him by means of his restoration was equally empowering. It was a way of life change for our complete household. I used to be solely 11, however I began studying extra in regards to the function of diet within the prevention and administration of illness. 

It was additionally round this time that I began experiencing outbreaks of eczema, on account of meals and environmental allergy symptoms unbeknownst to me at the moment. No therapy, no cream, no capsule labored. At 17, I took it upon myself to experiment with my food plan and intently take a look at what meals triggered my situation. After a yr of doing this, my pores and skin cleared up, and I lastly felt like my situation didn’t management or outline me anymore.

I’m so captivated with sharing what I’ve discovered in my experiences, my education, and my dietetic internships with my Mariana Island neighborhood–the place charges of persistent illness are disproportionately excessive and tales like my very own are commonplace. I hope to encourage others, share my data whereas studying from my neighborhood, and impact optimistic change in the best way we eat and stay.

What Space of Dietetics Are You Most Passionate About?

There’s a nice want for registered dietitians within the Mariana Islands. I’ve additionally had the privilege of accumulating expertise in class diet, which is why I’ve a ardour for the systemwide method to effecting change at our faculties. 

However I’m additionally very captivated with scientific diet and dealing with interdisciplinary healthcare groups to offer diet schooling and remedy to sufferers identified with persistent or acute ailments. I’ve been very impressed by scientific diet, together with persistent illness administration (for ailments corresponding to diabetes, heart problems, and kidney illness), maternal diet, pediatric diet, and diet analysis.

What Have Been the Greatest Obstacles You’ve Needed to Overcome in Your Journey to Turning into an RD? 

I first thought of turning into an RD after my expertise within the 2017 Youngsters’s Well being Evaluation within the Pacific (CHAP) Fellowship by means of the Northern Marianas Faculty and the College of Hawaii-Manoa. After discovering the College of New England’s Future Schooling Mannequin MSAN program, I made the choice to take a leap of religion by pursuing my ardour for Vitamin.

Funds have been an impediment. With the assist of my fíancé and with the financial savings I had, we lined the prices of tuition and costs out-of-pocket and with loans, benefiting from any and each alternative for scholarships and monetary help. The subsequent impediment was trying to find preceptors (mentors). Once I was first accepted into this system, there have been solely three training registered dietitians within the Mariana Islands.

The final, and maybe most vital, impediment throughout my expertise on this discipline has been the shortage of analysis and assets particular to the Pacific Islander cultures of the Mariana Islands. As a Chamorro Filipino, little analysis has been performed on the standard meals of our neighborhood, in addition to the results of dietary adjustments, westernization, and urbanization on the well being of Mariana Island residents. Few culturally-competent and culturally-modified assets on the Mariana Island food plan exist. This has led to me creating my very own culturally-competent supplies for sufferers and shoppers. That is additionally why it’s a ardour of mine to become involved in future analysis and useful resource creation in my future profession as an Asian Pacific Islander-registered dietitian.

What Is Your Favourite Snack or Go-To Meal?

My favourite go-to meal must be ahi tuna poké with a mattress of white rice and a aspect of blended greens topped with roasted sesame dressing. A favourite Chamorro meal from my childhood can be barbequed hangun (an area reef fish) with grilled breadfruit. I additionally liked the sinigang (Filipino bitter soup) my lola (grandmother) would prepare dinner for me as a toddler–loaded with kangkong (water spinach) and winged beans from her backyard.

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