Diversify Dietetics Mentor Program

Mentoring programs facilitate professional and personal development for...mentees [and] help mentees relate more to individuals who...may be more tuned in to expectations and challenges. 
— Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016

Research has shown that having a mentor that understands a student's barriers and concerns can facilitate student success. This is why creating a mentor program was one or our first and most important initiatives.

Due to the low number of practicing dietetics professionals of color, students of underrepresented minority groups have sometimes found it challenging to find mentors who hold shared lived experiences. Our mentor program seeks to reduce this barrier by using the power of the internet, social media and technology to connect professionals with students and dietetic interns in the Diversify Dietetics community. 

What Sets Our Mentor Program Apart from the Rest?

First, our mentor program follows the academic year, to allow for us to disseminate timely resources to support and complement mentor program participants (such as information about the dietetic internship match process, interview prep, funding to attend the FNCE conference, etc).  While mentors are phenomenal with providing assistance when it comes to on professional-related topics, some mentors may be a inexperienced or uncomfortable in assisting their mentees with academic-related resources. We help fill in those gaps, saving our mentors precious time, and ensuring our mentees are getting the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Second, we have asked all mentees and mentors to commit to minimum program requirements in order to facilitate an effective mentor relationship. There also is little data available on what makes a successful mentor/mentee relationship for dietetics students of color. Our structured mentor program format allows for us to collect data and continue to refine best practices for mentor programs.

Some of our mentor program requirements include:

  • Meeting with the mentee at least one hour per month (virtual or in-person)

  • Mentors developing a jointly written (i.e.- documented and measurable) goal plan with mentee

  • If the mentor and mentee live in the same city, the mentor inviting the mentee to accompany him or her to professional activities, as appropriate

  • All participants providing formal feedback through Diversify Dietetics' evaluation process

Third, we don't think that dietetics students of color can only be mentored by dietetics professionals of color. But we DO believe that any professionals who serve as mentors need to understand the unique barriers and challenges that face underrepresented minority students, interns and young professionals. So our mentor program provides free training and resources for all of our mentors, to help them identify any conscious or unconscious biases that may affect their mentor relationship. 

So, how do you join our Mentor Program?

Recruitment for the 2019 - 2020 Mentor Program begins January 2020! Get updates about the program by subscribing to The Squeeze, the Diversify Dietetics monthly newsletter. Have more questions? Reach out to mentor@diversifydietetics.org! You can also take advantage of other great mentoring opportunities provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics if you are a member.