There is a lack of diversity in health professionals across the United States of America, which is also reflected in the lack of minorities in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Although minorities face higher occurrences of lifestyle illnesses, most health care team members do not look like them, which often leads to health care inequities. Dietetics education programs in the United States have progressively shown a decrease in the recruitment and retention of minority dietetic students (MDS). The lack of minority dietitians not only impacts the profession at present, but it also influences the recruitment and retention of future minority dietitians. The purpose of this phenomenological qualitative study was to explore the perceptions that minority registered dietitians/nutritionists (RDN) have about the recruitment and retention of minority nutrition and dietetics students. Interviews were conducted with 21 minority participants who graduated and obtained their registered dietitian nutritionist credential in 2019 or after. Informed by Tinto's model of student retention and Schlossberg's Transition Theory, a thematic analysis of the interviews was conducted that revealed three major themes (i.e., factors) that influence the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of minority students in nutrition programs: i) Having a strong passion for health sciences and nutrition, ii) Lacking recruitment strategies in program, and iii) Building a network from different cultures with different experiences. Stakeholders and researchers need to be intentional to ensure minorities are recruited, retained, and successfully pass the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Educational Leadership and Higher Education
Educational Leadership; Higher Education Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Shepherd, Latonya, "An Exploration of the Lived Experiences in Higher Education of Minority Registered Dietitians: Implication for Recruitment and Retention of Minority Dietetics Students" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1439.
Restricted to the UCF community until December 2027; it will then be open access.