RDN Spotlight: Angela Gomez, RDN
What is your ethnicity/race? Did your family have any customs related to food?
I identify as Latinx. The biggest custom my family had related to food was cooking large holiday meals together, blasting our favorite songs, while we danced in the kitchen.
Where did you go to school and complete your dietetic internship?
I attended Arizona State University (ASU) for my Bachelor's in Nutrition Dietetics and graduated in 2013. Three years later I was able to get into the ASU’s Wellness Dietetic Internship which I completed in 2017.
Why did you decide to choose nutrition and dietetics as a career?
Honestly, nutrition and dietetics was not on my radar until after I graduated with my first Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Biology. I went back to school to pursue nutrition and dietetics because I constantly felt pulled towards nutrition in my everyday life. My "why" for nutrition and dietetics continues to evolve, but at the base of my "why" is the desire to connect with people on a deeper level and be with them on their journey towards overall wellness (mental, physical, emotional, social, etc.).
What was the biggest challenge for you in becoming a dietitian and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge in becoming a dietitian was being accepted into an internship. It took me 3 attempts to get into an internship! To overcome this challenge, I stayed persistent in my personal growth and continued to pursue more learning opportunities. I was on a mission to set myself apart from the other intern candidates. So I completed courses in breastfeeding, completed graduate level courses in eating disorders, became a yoga Instructor, and was able to get paid nutrition experience working for WIC.
Have you had any mentors in your career if yes how have those mentors affected your career or life?
Unfortunately, I have not had any mentors in my career. This is one of the many reasons why I am excited about Diversify Dietetics and their mission.
How do you envision the future of the nutrition and dietetics profession?
I envision the future of the nutrition and dietetics profession as a profession rooted in social justice and a profession actively working to reduce health disparities. In order to truly "do no harm" as a dietetics professional, I believe we have to do the following: acknowledge disparities; educate our clients about disparities; advocate for our clients; be compassionate in relation to these disparities; develop research that examines different groups of people; and be aware of the privileges we have as individuals (skinny privilege, pretty privilege, college education privilege, white-passing privilege, etc.) especially when working with clients.
Why do you think diversifying the field of nutrition is important?
We are able to give more complete compassionate care, genuinely work towards doing less harm, and be a more valuable part of a client's wellness journey when we listen to (and believe) their individual lived experiences, and invite client's to be the expert of their own body. In addition to this, clients who identify with their health and wellness team are more likely to have a positive experience and better overall health outcomes. As for future generations of nutrition and dietetics professionals: to see that it can be done, they are welcome in this field, they are needed in this field, and that there is space for them as a nutrition and dietetics professional.
What advice would you give a student of color interested in entering this profession?
If you are able to: prioritize paid nutrition experience while completing your college courses, if a paid position is not possible then shadow or volunteer in a nutrition-related field of interest, and make an effort to really connect with a nutrition professor who you enjoy.
Angela Gomez lives in Phoenix, AZ and and is a true RDN hustler! She's a nutritionist at WIC; a part-time Food and Nutrition Coordinator for Peoria Unified School District; a yoga teacher; a volunteer at an eating disorder clinic called The Liberation Center... AND she and her fabulous mama own a T-shirt brand called Drop the Label which is a movement that encourages the rejection of impossible societal standards by replacing traditional clothing sizes with positive affirmations. (whew!!) Angela will also be our very FIRST guest on our new DD Facebook LIVE Series called Feed Me the Facts. She'll be talking all about her experiences in applying to internships!