The COVID-19 pandemic and numerous recent acts of police brutality have exposed our nation’s painful and continuous structural discrimination and systemic racism. These heinous practices are deeply embedded in our institutions’ systems, perpetuating inequities where we live, work, receive care, and play. Many state and local leaders are declaring racism a public health crisis or emergency in an effort to address equity and justice within their communities.
As members of the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN), we have a responsibility to respond with intention to the urgency of the longstanding oppression of the Indigenous, People of Color (POC), and LGBTQIA+ communities.
In order to assure we are a more inclusive and equitable organization, ASPHN’s policies, practices, and programs must prioritize inclusion, involvement, and the professional advancement of all members. This includes members of every age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status.
ASPHN has identified tangible steps to begin this process. We are currently incorporating language addressing equity as a priority within our organization’s description. We will seek funding to develop an equity resource directory that can be used by all ASPHN members. We will focus on outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to diversify our membership and build tomorrow’s leaders. And we will be more purposeful in diversifying the composition of our board of directors.
ASPHN believes diverse ideas and perspectives will strengthen our organization and help us grow collectively as well as individually. We are committed to productive discourse in respectful and safe environments, and we want to listen and learn. From one another. From experts in the fields of inequity and inequality. And from those who have been affected and continue to be impacted by injustice and unfair practices. We recognize these conversations may sometimes cause discomfort, but we know experiencing these feelings will help us evolve.
We will act on what we learn. The actions we are undertaking align with our mission as public health nutritionists to improve health equity across the nation. Tiffani Grant, MS, RDN, LD, ASPHN President and Bureau Director for the Mississippi State Department of Health explains, “Our field believes nutrition is a right, not a privilege. Our work increases access to affordable, healthy foods and good nutrition for at-risk populations. We are committed to putting those same values and passion into making our own association more inclusive and equitable.”
For more information, please contact Karen Probert, MS, RD at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-255-2829, extension 701.
Founded in 1952, the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists (ASPHN) is a non-profit membership organization that strengthens nutrition policy, programs and environments for all people through the development of public health nutrition leaders and the collective action of members nationwide. ASPHN’s membership is composed of more than 600 nutrition professionals located throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. ASPHN's vision is healthy eating and active living for everyone.You can find ASPHN on the web at www.asphn.org and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/asphn.