Today’s statement of concern comes from Marilyn Jess, MS, RD (Twitter handle: @mjspeakingof).
Marilyn’s statement differs from those we’ve shared in the past, in that her concerns don’t revolve around the Academy’s Big Food sponsors/partners, but rather the Academy’s operations:
“I, too, did not renew my AND membership this year. This is after more than 30 years of membership, including leadership positions at the district level early in my RD career. My concerns center around three areas.
First, training for our future leaders, students and dietetic interns. I have been on an internship advisory board and have reviewed intern applications for more than five years. In that time I had more of an inside track on who exactly was entering our profession and the pressures being placed on programs to graduate students who can pass the RD exam. Overall, I am increasingly worried that standards are being lowered, and the financial incentive to enroll students on an undergraduate level takes priority over admitting the most qualified students. Are undergraduate and graduate programs really teaching what students need? My answer is no–every future RD needs better experience with behavior change and business sense, and these things aren’t consistently taught in schools. We all know about student debt load. Colleges play a part in that by enticing people into programs, maybe ones that aren’t right for them.
Second, pay equity. We all know that average pay for an RD is less than similar professions. Has AND really advocated well for our profession? I have to say No, and we are overwhelmingly female, which is strike two. I would prefer my dues go 100% toward this–it would help so many RD’s if each was paid fairly. I can’t really recommend becoming an RD, given the expense and time, and the salary one can expect today.
Third, continuing education and the FNCE annual meeting (full disclosure, I spoke at the 2011 FNCE). I have not attended any educational sessions at FNCE for more than five years. The meeting itself is costly and the way it’s presented has not really changed since I started going, in the 1980’s. Lectures in huge rooms that end with a short Q & A session are the standard fare. There are many ways to learn, yet these meetings use few methods that tap into the strengths of our members. Pre-FNCE sessions cost even more.State meetings aren’t much different .AND does offer electronic alternatives, and I have found the quality lacking. Let’s face it, big conventions, even state meetings, have outlived their usefulness in the digital age. As a facilitator/trainer, I know that people learn better in small groups and when the learning is interactive and tailored to their needs.
Those are my concerns. Thank you for reading and considering.”