Family and consumer sciences professor, Annette Besnilian called the award “recognition” for all the hard work she and her colleagues have put into increasing the number of students from underrepresented backgrounds who complete the program and go on to become registered dietitians.
“Incorporating peer mentoring in all areas of dietetics, practitioners can help increase awareness of dietetics and nutrition as a health profession, increase the number of ethnically-diverse professionals in nutrition and dietetics,” she said.
The program was able to increase the number of Hispanic students from 17% to 33%, Asian students from 8% to 25%, African American students from 8% to 17%, Middle Eastern students from 17% to 23%, and males from 1% to 25% within a span of two years.
Besnilian noted there is a shortage, locally and nationally, of versatile registered dieticians. She said, “Plans to identify students at the beginning of their Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) will assist students in obtaining experience, study skills, and networking opportunities earlier on in their academic careers.”
In addition to the recognition, the program will be awarded a $1,000 grant at the annual meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics this fall. Besnilian will attend, representing CSUN.
With its current success, the CSUN Peer Mentoring Program will continue to seek additional funding to expand the program. If able to obtain the additional funding, the program will have the ability to seek a larger pool of mentees, while expanding its outreach process through local and professional organizations.
More information on the the Dietetic Internship program webpage.
This article re-posted from CSUN Today. Read the original post.
Gabriela Aguirre, CSUN Today