Alumnae Join Boston Alliance for Diversity in Dietetics

SPHHS alumnae Joycelyn Faraj and Wendy Ng

Joycelyn Faraj '17PhD (at left) and Wendy Ng '17

July 28, 2020

Alumnae Joycelyn Faraj ‘17PhD (Nutrition) and Wendy Ng ’17 (Public Health Sciences with a secondary major in Nutrition) have been selected for leadership positions within the Boston Alliance for Diversity in Dietetics (BADD). Funded through a grant from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, BADD was designed to organize social justice-minded students, interns, and professionals in dietetics in the Boston area toward a vision of racially/ethnically, gender/sexuality and ability diverse profession of dietetics that more closely reflects the demographics of the US population by 2030.

“My passion for increasing diversity among our field is shared by many like-minded individuals who are ready to shake things up and create a new playing field,” says Faraj, an assistant professor of food and nutrition at Framingham State University. “It's the first initiative of its kind in the country; it’s an honor to be able to take part in a movement that will hopefully set the stage and provide a model for many other major cities to follow.”

Faraj will serve as a local leader for the newly created organization, helping to operationalize the program’s mission and goals. “BADD is a much-needed initiative, where those of us who at some point felt underrepresented throughout our journey to becoming dietitians are joining forces to create a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable future within dietetics for those in the Boston area.”

Ng, who works as a Nutrition Manager with Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc., will serve as a Local Advisor for BADD and help provide oversight and guide strategic decisions made by the organization, providing a local view of the status of diversity, inclusion and equity in dietetics across the state.

“The U.S population is growing and becoming more diverse than ever, yet according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as of July -- out of 93,320 Registered Dietitians, 81.1% are White and only 3.9% are Asian, 2.6% are Black, and 3.1% are Hispanic,” says Ng, noting the prohibitive cost and time barriers that keep many from completing the steps necessary for licensure. “These statistics are what makes BADD’s work meaningful and important. How can we teach BIPOC students who already know about careers in nursing, social work, and teaching that there are endless opportunities in the field of nutrition as well? What kind of resources, mentorship and inclusive space can we develop in order to support BIPOC students who may not have the same advantage and tools as their fellow peers?”

Faraj expects to play an important role within BADD's mentoring program, providing support for those who are interested in the field of nutrition and dietetics and helping to diversify its workforce and educational curriculum.

“I hope to contribute to the growing body of research on strategies that have the best potential to diversify the field of nutrition and dietetics,” says Faraj, “and to create a more equitable playing field for those currently in underrepresented groups.”

Adds Ng, “As a first-generation quad-lingual Asian-American Dietitian, I hope I can share personal experiences and provide guidance, support and mentorship to BIPOC students figuring out their place in the nutrition world in order to dismantle some of the systematic barriers we face in this field.”

For more information, visit the BADD website.