The Redesigning Wellness Podcast

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226: Increasing Diversity in Dietetics with Deanna Belleny, Co-Founder of Diversify Dietetics

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Though the general trend of diversity and inclusion is increasing, wellness fields like dietetics and health promotion have not experienced as much growth or attention as other industries. Today’s guest, Deanna Belleny, co-founder of the non-profit Diversity Dietetics, is seeking to change this by providing support, mentoring, and barrier deconstruction with the goal of increasing the ethnic and racial diversity in the field of nutrition. 

In addition to her non-profit work, Deanna Belleny is the Assistant Director of Health Systems Transformation at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care.

In this episode, Deanna discusses the decision to start Diversify Dietetics, including the lack of representation and resulting microaggressions she experienced early on in her education and career. She shares some of the barriers to entering dietetics that minorities experience, the impact the lack of diversity has on the field, and how white dietitians can expand their perspectives. 

Lastly, Deanna explains the goal of Diversify Dietetics, the current programs and initiatives they’ve built, and leaves listeners with a tangible tip on where to start to be a part of the solution.

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Interview Highlights (with timestamps):
  • [6:48] Starting Diversify Dietetics and the stereotype of a dietician
  • [19:06] Barriers to entering dietetics
  • [24:57] The impact of the lack of diversity in dietetics
  • [31:07] Expanding your perspectives as a white dietician
  • [33:26] Required reading for Diversify Dietetics volunteers
  • [35:36] The goal of Diversify Dietetics and how to get involved
  • [43:45] Deanna’s Tangible Tip
Mentioned in this episode:
Full Bio:

Deanna Belleny is a  Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Public Health Practitioner currently living in Hartford Connecticut. She is the co-founder of Diversify Dietetics, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the racial and ethnic diversity in the field of nutrition by empowering nutrition leaders of color. She additionally works at the Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care as the Assistant Director of Health Systems Transformation. Deanna is passionate about creating system-level changes that positively impact the health of under-served communities.

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