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World Critical Dietetics Newsletter

ISSUE 01 | WINTER 2021

Note: newsletters are sent to current WCD members. To become a member click here!
Contents at a glance…

A message from the president, Jennifer Brady (p.2)
Book announcement, Alissa Overend (p.3)

Journal of Critical Dietetics Report, Debbie MacLellan & Jacqui Gingras (p.4)
Tribunal on Racism in Dietetics, Jill White (p.6)
2020 conference recap, Christin Seher (p.7)

A call for 11th and 12th annual conference organizers, Christin Seher (p.8)

Reflections, Kheko Lewis (p.9)
“Where do we go from here?”, WCD Board of Directors (p.11)
Newsletter coordination by Board Member, Maya Hey, Member-at-Large. 
For questions, please contact

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Opening Remarks

Christin Seher, 2020 Conference Organizer

Welcome to the 10th annual World Critical Dietetics virtual conference!

While I wish we could be gathering in person, and I could have shared a piece of my home town, Akron, Ohio with you, I am excited you are here and spending part of your time with us at this year’s conference.  We welcome those of you who are new to World Critical Dietetics, as well as our long-time friends and colleagues from around the world. 

We have an amazing line up of speakers this year, each of whom will push us to “call in” and “call out” the ways in which we, as food and nutrition professionals and global citizens, contribute to, participate in, and can work to dismantle the systemic structures leading to nutrition and health inequities.  Our opening keynote A Tribunal on Racism in Dietetics has been viewed by more than 800 people around the world and featured a powerful group of Black women speakers and those who stand in solidarity to engage a poignant dialogue on racial justice in the profession.    

In subsequent conference sessions, you will hear from a variety of students, practitioners, educators, and scholars as they bring forth some of the most pressing questions facing dietetic practice, in brave and vulnerable ways.  This is not your typical academic conference.  I urge you to tune in with an open heart and mind, a compassionate and inquisitive spirit, and a commitment and passion for working towards solidarity and justice. 

Sessions will convene via WebEx over the next three Fridays in November, with links sent via email to the sessions each week.  Pop in when you can, wear what is comfy, and bring a snack.  We know that everyone is video conferenced out!  Sessions for this year’s conference will not be recorded but if you are looking to get in touch with a speaker regarding their presentation, you can find their contact information in this year’s conference proceedings.  We encourage you to reach out and connect with those whose stories speak to you.  World Critical Dietetics is as much about community building and connection as it is about critical inquiry and activism.     

If you are not already, I encourage you to become a WCD Member.  Memberships support the work of our organization, such as the publishing of the Journal of Critical Dietetics, an important outlet for scholarship and critical voices in the profession. 

Membership information can be found on our blog: here or by emailing

Current members, we look forward to updating you on the growth of WCD and giving you a sneak peak at our plans for the year (new website and logo, special issues of JCD, and more!) at our AGM on Friday, Nov 27th.  Make sure to register in Eventbrite and join us to help us set our priorities for the year.

Finally, as we all will join in this learning opportunity from traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples of around the world, I encourage you to make space during this conference to acknowledge the history of the land which you occupy and the roles and responsibilities you hold as guests on their territories.  Further, I would like to express gratitude to those who protect and steward the gifts and teachings offered by Mother Earth; for us and generations to come.  You can learn more by visiting:

With compassion,

Christin Seher

WCD Board Member & 2020 Conference Organizer

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WCD Conference Reminders

Online registration:

-The 2020 WCD Conference committee

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WCD Conference updates & preliminary presentations and workshops

Given the extraordinary circumstances of this year and in the interest of inclusivity, we would like to make the WCD 2020 virtual conference more accessible to all who are interested. For anyone who does not have institutional support, conference registration will be based on ability to pay.

We have also published the preliminary conference presentations and workshops.

If you registered only for the Tribunal and would like to attend the entire conference, we encourage you to return to the EVENTBRITE registration page.

If you are a conference presenter and wish to attend presentations or workshops outside of the concurrent session you are scheduled to present, please register for the conference in order to receive access to presentation links. 

If you have paid for your registration based on the original fee model and would like resubmit your registration under the ability to pay please contact our treasurer Julie Rochefort at

Our mission is to advocate for and support dietetics education, practice, and research that is transdisciplinary, trauma-informed, compassion-centered, and justice-enhancing.

We seek to engage dietetics practitioners, students, scholars, educators, equity-seeking communities, and decision-makers that create space for critical inquiry to co-learn, challenge oppression, and a dietetics profession that includes, serves, nourishes and is accountable to all.      

Looking forward to connecting together at this years conference,

WCD Board of Directors

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Newsletter Submissions for Fall 2020

Dear WCD Community,

We invite our members to submit a short report that fits into the following categories:

News: make announcements that are short, timely, and topical (50-250 words) examples: book announcements, job/internship postings, calls to action 

Recognition: celebrate personal and/or peer accomplishments (500 words max.) examples: awards, reports/white papers, abstracts to published articles 

Forthcoming: promote future events or works in progress (250-500 words) examples: calls for papers/participation, details about a public keynote addresses 

Multimedia Resources: share files and links to audio/visual work
NB: include a brief description to introduce the piece (50-250 words) examples: podcasts, documentaries, creative/artistic pieces 

Community Forum: prompt discussions about a topic of interest (750 words max.) NB: pieces will be reviewed by newsletter staff beforehand examples: opinion/commentary, commemorations, retrospectives

Images, figures, and photographs are strongly encouraged to illustrate your message and give it visual appeal. Please provide high-resolution files with appropriate captions. All submission materials should be directed to as attachments. 

Submissions are due Monday, October 19, 2020.

WCD seeks to engage and support practitioners, students, scholars, educators, equity-seeking communities, and decision-makers across different bodies of knowledge and expertise. This newsletter aims to foster better connections between these different sectors as part of a broader effort towards encouraging more compassionate and respectful relations amongst our members. In our commitment to creating a more collective and inclusive community, WCD particularly welcomes contributions from equity-seeking groups/people or communities under threat. We hope you will consider contributing a piece.

Please note: Content submitted to the WCD Newsletter will be made publicly available on our website. As such, by sending content to the Newsletter, you are agreeing to make your contribution part of public knowledge. So, if contributions are image-based, you are acknowledging that you have the permissions to share the image(s) online, and you authorize WCD to use the image(s) in our publications. Lastly, WCD reserves the right not to publish all submitted content in the Newsletter should the editorial committee find the information in violation of our Vision, Mission, and Values Statement.  For questions, please contact

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Call for Proposals: 10th International World Critical Dietetics Conference

Founded in 2009, World Critical Dietetics seeks to create spaces for inter- and transdisciplinary inquiry and exploration regarding food, health, nutrition, knowledge, the body, and expertise, as well as critical, justice-enhancing orientations to education, art, and practice in the context of dietetics. World Critical Dietetics embraces multiple disciplines and perspectives not routinely included in the dietetics cannon including those of sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, food studies, history, english, geography, and environmental studies, among others. In addition to widening the breadth of knowledge and scholarship within dietetics and nutrition, World Critical Dietetics seeks to foster capacity and elevate the voices of dietetic students, practitioners, and educators, as well as critical scholars, community members, and activists to advance food, health, and social justice.

This year, we convene amid a global pandemic that illuminates how deeply entrenched structural inequities perpetuate health disparities, while participating in/bearing witness to a number of social movements to protect marginalized lives, like #SayHerName, Black Lives Matter, #Metoo and Idle no More, among others.  Now, more than ever, dietetics is called to engage in challenging conversations that push our profession to expand our thinking on what is possible.  We must listen and learn from the perspectives of others in disciplines, practice areas, and communities outside of our own.

In the spirit of this reflexivity, transdisciplinarity, and with the aim of blurring/crossing epistemological and ontological disciplinary boundaries, the 2020 conference will focus on exploring the myriad ways critical dietetics knowledge and praxis intersect with other disciplines to empower and disenfranchise communities with whom we interact. This includes exploring inter- and transdisciplinary synergies and tensions between dietetics and other disciplines, professions, and communities; theory, approaches, and experiences of reflexive practice in action; and applying reflexive insight toward anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and socially just dietetic work.  The opening session of the conference – a Tribunal on Racism in Dietetics – will begin the process of “calling in,” exploring how dietetics educators and practitioners actively contribute to the oppression of marginalized communities with whom we work.  A series of invited speakers will reflect upon gatekeeping in the profession and provide an opportunity for dialogue to push us to think differently about dietetic education and practice.  Submissions specifically addressing these topics, and others are encouraged.

  • Racism in dietetics education, theory, and practice
  • Exploration of critical dietetics in relation to contemporary social movements including BLM, INM, #MeToo, #NeverAgain, #TimesUp, #SayHerName
  • Intersections of civil rights and critical dietetics/critical food studies 
  • Dietitians’ roles as advocates and activists for food, health, and social justice
  • Imagining what socially just dietetic practice looks like, feels like, and sounds like
  • Structural and cultural competence in dietetics

Although submissions related to the guiding theme are encouraged, proposals that examine other topics related to critical perspectives in dietetic education and practice are also welcome. These may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Disrupting disciplinary boundaries/incorporating multiple knowledges into dietetic work
  • Theorizing the dietetic body of knowledge
  • Promoting Indigenous ways of knowing in dietetics and nutrition
  • Critical perspectives of food, nutrition, bodies and body weight
  • Historical perspectives of dietetic education, research, and practice
  • Critical dietetic pedagogy
  • Methodological considerations for critical practice-based research and scholarship
  • Dietetics through the lens of queer or trans theory, experience, and identity
  • The role of art in dietetic education, research, and practice

Submissions from students, dietetic practitioners, and community members on a variety of topics are encouraged! 

  • Practitioner experiences, insights, and tensions working with marginalized communities and/or working within/against the profession
  • Development of and shifts in in dietetic identity and/or practice philosophy
  • Experiences navigating dietetics education and internships

Proposal and Presentation Formats

The 2020 World Critical Dietetics Conference invites a range of presentation formats.  Submissions may be text-based or in video or audio form.  Please clearly indicate in your proposal, which of the following formats you propose to use:

  1. Individual papers/presentations (20 minutes): Please submit a 200-word abstract or 3-minute audio or video recording including the corresponding author’s name, title, affiliation, and email address, plus the names of any co-authors.
  • Thematic session – Symposium of three to four papers/presentations (60 minutes): Please submit a thematic overview (100-200 words or 3-minute audio or video recording) that describes the symposium, and three to four abstracts (one for each paper of 200 words each or 2-minutes of audio or video recording). Indicate the corresponding author’s name, title, affiliation, and email address, plus the names, titles and affiliations of the co-presenters.
  • Workshop or roundtable (90 minutes): Please submit a 250-word abstract or 3-minute audio or video recording, describing the focus of the workshop or roundtable, the format or activities proposed, and the technologies required. Describe goals of the workshop or roundtable and how participants will be included to make this different from a thematic session.

How to Submit your Conference Proposal

  • Pecha kucha-like presentations (20 slides of images to be shown for exactly 20 seconds each): Please submit a 200-word abstract or 3-minute audio or video recording including the author’s name, title, affiliation, and email address, plus the names of any co-presenters. Learn more about the pecha kucha presentation format at: and

Deadline: September 14th, 2020

Presenters will be notified by September 28, 2020

Send submissions to Christin Seher at

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Forthcoming: Special Issue

Estimated publication date: March 2021

Guest Co-Editors:

Alison Brown, MS, PhD, past Chair, National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition (NOBIDAN), Program Director, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, US

Jill White, EdD, RDN, past President, World Critical Dietetics, Adjunct Instructor, Nutrition Sciences
Borra College of Health Sciences Nutrition, Dominican University, River Forest, Illinois, US

The impact of racism on the field of nutrition and dietetics is pervasive and manifests itself in a variety of ways.  The national context of police brutality against Black people has shed light on other aspects of structural and systemic racism in this country.   These include inequities in our education system, income inequality, affordability and quality of housing.  Those directly relevant to the field of nutrition and dietetics are disparities in access to affordable and healthy foods and issues of food insecurity.  Related to these inequities, African Americans are disproportionately impacted by diet-related diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes (1).   

Lack of diversity in the field of nutrition and dietetics is also arguably an artifact of systemic racism in this country.    African Americans/Blacks represent only 2.6% of the dietitians in the U.S and between 1998-2016, the percentage of African American dietetic students declined by 11.6% (2).  Rooted  in systemic racism, much of the decline of African American dietitians stems from the closing of nutrition and dietetics program at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and declines in funding for HBCUs since the 1970s, leaving publicly funded HBCUs at the mercy of these policy changes.  Several of these programs transitioned to hospitality programs and restaurant management, ultimately shutting off African American students to the dietetics profession.  The financial cost of the 10-12 month unpaid dietetic internship is also a barrier to entry in the field for Black students.  As a result of lack of diversity in the field, race based microaggressions are also commonplace in the dietetics profession. 

As the field of dietetics is actively working on enhancing efforts around diversity, inclusion and equity especially in the wake of national protests around the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, it will be essential to actively and critically discuss the impact of racism within the dietetics and nutrition field.

This special issue of Critical Dietetics aims to capture the impact of individual, interpersonal and systemic racism against Blacks in the dietetics profession in the U.S.  We want to expose how this influences the prevalence and treatment of diet-related diseases among these groups, the diversity in the dietetics field, and how Black dietitians are treated within the profession.  

If you have any further questions about the special issue, please contact Jill White ( and Alison Brown (, Guest Co-Editors. If you have any questions about the Journal, please contact Jacqui Gingras ( or Debbie Maclellan (, Co-Editors, the Journal of Critical Dietetics.


  1.  Cunningham, T. J., Croft, J. B., Liu, Y., Lu, H., Eke, P. I., & Giles, W. H. (2017). Vital signs: racial disparities in age-specific mortality among blacks or African Americans—United States, 1999–2015. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report66(17), 444.
  2. Burt, K. G., Delgado, K., Chen, M., & Paul, R. (2019). Strategies and recommendations to increase diversity in dietetics. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics119(5), 737-738.

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Collating Resources to Inform Anti-Racist, Anti-Oppressive Practice

Below is a link to a living document for those interested in learning and sharing resources to inform anti-racist, anti-oppressive dietetics practice. 

You may contribute to this resource list. Please do not delete, edit, or remove any of the contributions within the document. Please email us at should you have any questions or concerns.

Click HERE to access the document.

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Incoming Co-Editor for the Journal of Critical Dietetics

The WCD Board is pleased to share that Debbie MacLellan, Professor Emeritus, University of Prince Edward Island has stepped forward to co-edit the Journal of Critical Dietetics with Jacqui Gingras. Dr. MacLellan will co-edit the next two issues before becoming Editor, at which time Dr. Gingras’ term will end. We wish to thank Debbie for her support of the Journal and for bringing her wisdom and experience to this role. Please join us in welcoming Debbie!

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World Critical Dietetics Statement in Solidarity

World Critical Dietetics (WCD) stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and those standing against racial injustice throughout the United States and the world.

We find ourselves now in the midst of a world-wide cry against the overt racism and xenophobia that has been the over-bearing and hateful message of those in recent power. In response to the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and to the murders of countless Black people throughout history, we stand in solidarity with the struggle for life itself against ongoing police brutality and murders. Across the world, the COVID-19 crisis had already lifted the veil off and revealed the systemic racism and class contradictions that allow people of color to become ill and die at alarming and disparate rates. In many communities, it is a form of genocide.

The multinational and international demonstrations we see in the streets in solidarity with Black people are heartening. They serve as the basis for unity in struggle that can propel society forward. We want to be part of this new motion and engage those in our profession, networks and communities to join us. It is the only future for youth, who are now demanding change under the leadership of the most oppressed, the Black community.

WCD recognizes that, as an organization of professionals, scholars and students in health and community care, we hold a responsibility to speak out against the ways that racial injustice torments people of color. As a group that advocates for the right to health, food and education for all, we are examining and redressing our own place in systems and structures that have fed the deep roots of anti-Black racism. We are committed to hearing, honoring and standing in solidarity with the voices of Black communities as they call for an end to racialized violence.

We stand committed to take the following actions:

  1. We will continue to educate ourselves and others about ways that anti-Black racism is perpetuated and create an alliance with leaders of the Black community.
  2. We will seek, listen and learn from members of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities how to address the barriers to inclusion in WCD and the field of dietetics.
  3. We will use our space and resources to create an ongoing platform for BIPOC.
  4. We will create and publish a special issue of the Journal of Critical Dietetics, led by Black students, dietitians and WCD members, that will examine anti-Black racism and call for the dietetics community to work against racism.
  5. We will work with Black, Indigenous and other People of Color to identify the needs and create resources to support dietitians, healthcare providers and researchers in anti-racist work.
  6. We will partner with organizations that represent the voices and interests of Black, Indigenous and People of Color to host our annual WCD conference.
  7. We will advocate for social justice through research, education and practice that addresses social and health inequities

We stand in solidarity with the most oppressed and will fight for a world free from racial violence, human suffering and exploitation, where equal access to life is valued for all.

Yuka Asada
Meredith Bessey
Jennifer Brady
Andrea Kirkham
Julie Rochefort
Christin Seher
Jill White

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