Enhancing the Dietetic Undergraduate Cultural Competemility Journey

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Leadership for Organizations


Department of Educational Administration


Elizabeth Essex


Dietetic undergraduate students need to develop their cultural competence and cultural humility in order to work effectively with diverse groups of people. This study aims to identify and understand how undergraduate curricular, co-curricular, and work experiences influence the dietetic majors’ journey in cultural competency and cultural humility. Fifteen dietetics alums from the small midwestern university were purposely sampled from students who graduated between 2018-2022 (7 registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), 8 dietetic interns). They first completed the Cultural Learning Inventory that specifically looked at experiences, interactions, training, curriculum, and co-curricular and programmatic learning during one's undergraduate years. Next, each participant participated in a one-on-one semi-structured interview on Zoom. Utilizing Capinha Bacote’s Cultural Competemility framework, the main topics were discussed: describing one's undergraduate experiences, skills needed to work with diverse populations, and the importance of cultural competency and humility in the registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) profession. Participants agreed that the university, program, and profession are bubbles (environments without a lot of diversity), and one needs to engage in a variety of experiences to enhance their cultural competence and cultural humility. Being curious and in discomfort, they sought experiences outside of their comfort zone, grew in humility, and developed effective skills for communication and interaction. Mapping of curricular and co-curricular coursework has been enhanced to deepen one’s cultural competency and cultural humility. After collaboration with the program’s faculty, courses in the dietetics curriculum have been selected, evaluated, and revised with examples of how to support one's journey in cultural competence and cultural humility. Additionally, an infographic sharing the lessons learned from the alumni has been created and will be integrated into the program.


cultural competemility, cultural competence, cultural humility, registered dietitian nutritionist, dietetic undergraduate student education

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2023, Author