Diversity


WE ARE SO EXCITED AND DELIGHTED
to introduce the new Diversity and Inclusion section of the website. It is important that diversity and inclusion are practiced in every aspect of our life.


Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN
Vegetarian Nutrition Diversity Liaison

June Pride Month
Written by: Kenneth Makaiwi


Pride events are held in June to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City on June 28, 1969. Police raids on LGBT focused bars were quite common. The night of the riot the patrons the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against police. There had been a burgeoning LBGT civil rights movement all the way back to the 1950’s but after Stonewall the movement exploded. Pride events take place in cities across the country and consist of parades, drag shows, dance parties, and concerts with LGBT artists and allies. Pride is important because it serves as an opportunity for the LGBT community to come together and celebrate themselves and our progress. Pride is important for the dietetics community because it provides an opportunity to gain experience about the LGBT community and discuss the spectrum of nutritional issues that continue to plague lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. Lesbians and bisexual females are more likely to be overweight or obese which may contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and other health problems. Gay and bisexual males have a higher rate of eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Transgender individuals undergoing hormone therapy are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and decreased bone density. Transgender individuals also face higher rates of food and housing insecurity(1, 2). Dietitians and other healthcare providers need to make themselves more aware of the special nutritional needs of members of the LGBT community.

I try to attend at least one pride event every year. The Pride Parade in DC has always been one of my favorite parade events to attend. It goes on for hours and is a wonderful opportunity to meet active members of the community. This year I planned an effort to attend multiple Virginia Beach events. I attended events at the Norfolk Zoo, the Chrysler Museum, and two other pride events at the ocean front in Virginia Beach. These events consisted of dance parties, drag shows, and opportunities to come together and celebrate. I also attended my favorite drag brunch in Hampton Roads.

Currently I am a Nutritionist Senior/Site Supervisor for a WIC office in Virginia Beach. We have had a few same sex couples that we have helped. I have also looked at policies concerning WIC and same sex couples during my rotation with the Food Nutrition Service. I am delighted that there are policies in place to help and protect the LGBT community. After I finish my internship, I plan to do more to educate and help my community with their nutrition difficulties.

1). Institute of Medicine. 2011. The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13128.
2). Thornton, V. (2018, September). CPE monthly: Eating disorders in the LGBTQ population - today's Dietitian Magazine. Today's Dietitian. Retrieved June 20, 2022, from https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0918p46.shtml 


Kenneth Makaiwi
KMakaiwi.jpgKenneth completed his undergrad at Norfolk State University and currently serving a second term as Secretary for Tidewater Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the local affiliate for Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Kenneth currently works as the Nutritionist Senior/Office Supervisor at the Indian River WIC office in Virginia Beach and is completing his dietetic internship through the Virginia/Maryland WIC program. He is an aspiring intensive care pediatric dietitian and has plans to obtain his CNSC once he’s a dietitian. He’s been married to his husband for two years and together, they adopted a cat named Binx this year.