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Diversity and Inclusion Definitions

Refers to giving equitable opportunities to everyone regardless of human ability and experience.

Access to Health Care and/or Services:
Means "the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.” Access to health care consists of four components: coverage, services, timeliness, and workforce.

A disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, or a belief. Bias may be conscious or unconscious.

Obstinate and irrational devotion to one's own party, belief or opinion.

Cultural Competence:
The American Hospital Association defines cultural competence in health care as the ability of systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including the tailoring of health care delivery to meet patients' social, cultural and linguistic needs.

Cultural Humility:
Cultural humility involves the ability to maintain an interpersonal stance that is other-oriented (or open to the other) in relation to aspects of cultural identity that are most important to the client. It requires practitioners to engage in self-reflection and self-critique as lifelong learners.

Cultural Safety:
The way in which respect for culture is established within an organization, such as a health service. It is about overcoming the cultural power imbalances of places, people, and policies to contribute to improvements in indigenous health. The goal of cultural safety is for all people to feel respected and safe when they interact with the health care system.

Culturally Sensitive Care:
Care that reflects "the ability to be appropriately responsive to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of groups of people that share a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage." The care in which health care providers offer services in a manner that is relevant to patients' needs and expectations.

Cultural Sensitivity:
Sensitivity to the similarities and differences in situations among various cultures, and the awareness of the sensitivity in active communication with other cultural communities.

Dehumanizing Behavior:
Depriving someone of their humanity and individuality. Dehumanization is a systematic process, creating moral exclusions for harming a specific group based on certain traits such as gender, ideology, skin color, ethnicity, etc.

Dimensions of Diversity:
Refers to the work diversity of a company and the employees who work there that have different traits, backgrounds and abilities.

A physical, mental, cognitive, sensory or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions.

The unequal treatment of individuals or a socially defined group. It can be conceptualized as systemic unfair treatment that seeks privileges for members of dominant groups at the expense of other groups.

The condition of being unequal. It usually refers to a difference that is unfair.

The presence of differences within a given setting. Differences people have with respect to race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, size, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics, among others. Diversity refers to the composition of a group of people from any number of demographic backgrounds, identities (innate and selected), and the collective strength of their experiences, beliefs, values, skills, and perspectives.

Diversity and Inclusion Definition (Academy):
The Academy encourages diversity and inclusion by striving to recognize, respect and include differences in ability, age, creed, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, size, and socioeconomic characteristics in the nutrition and dietetics profession.

Equitable Environment:
An equitable environment challenges intentional and unintentional forms of bias, harassment, and discrimination and promotes alternative actions. Because an environment can be welcoming and inequitable, attention is paid to recognizing and eliminating barriers to full participation at individual and systemic levels.

Ensures that everyone has access to the same opportunities. The absence of avoidable and unjust differences among groups of people. In an equitable situation, everyone has the conditions, resources, opportunities, and power to attain their full potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential.

Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and needs and allocates the exact resources and opportunities to reach an equal outcome.

A social construct which divides people into smaller social groups based on characteristics, such as shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interest, history and ancestral geographical base.

Attending to view other cultures as alien and/or inferior. It is the belief that one's ethnic group is superior to another. Ethnocentric individuals believe they are better than other individuals for reasons based solely on their heritage.

Explicit bias (also known as conscious bias):
When individuals are aware of their prejudices and attitudes toward certain groups. Their positive or negative preferences for a particular group are conscious. Explicit bias can result in numerous “isms” -racism, sexism, ageism, classism, able-ism, heterosexism.

Feigned Ignorance:
Refers to the portion of the mind that houses hidden biases. The extent to which social groups without our awareness or conscious control shape our likes and dislikes, our judgments about people's character, abilities, and potential.

Food justice:
According to the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy, "food justice is the right of communities everywhere to produce, process, distribute, access, and eat good food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community." It includes: Freedom from exploitation, ensures the rights of workers to fair labor practices, places importance on values such as respect, empathy, pluralism, valuing knowledge, racial justice and dismantling of racism and white privilege, and gender Equality. The Food Justice Movement is the grassroots initiative to uphold the principle of food justice.

Food Security/Insecurity:
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food security by all people means access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Not only does it include the availability of safe and nutritious food, but also the ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways. Meanwhile, food insecurity is the situation of "limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways." In 2018, 88.9% of U.S. households were food secure, and the remaining 11.1% (14.3 million households) were food insecure; 4.3% of U.S. households (5.6 million households) had very low food security.

Food Sovereignty:
Coined by members of the international farmers organization, Via Campesina, the term food sovereignty asserts that the people who produce, distribute, and consume food should control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution. It also encompasses the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.

Health Disparities:
Preventable differences in health status linked with inequitable distribution of social, political, economic, educational, medical, and environmental resources which negatively impact health outcomes and are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations.

Health Equity:
Equity is the absence of avoidable, unfair, or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically or by other means of stratification. "Health equity" or "equity in health" implies that ideally everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential.

Health Inequities:
According to the World Health Organization, health inequities are differences in health outcomes or in the distribution of health resources between population groups that arise from the social conditions in which people face. Not all health disparities are health inequities, in that health inequities are unfair and could be reduced by the right mix of organizational, local, state, and federal-level policies.

Implicit Bias (also known as unconscious bias):
The attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect our understanding, actions, and decisions. These biases, which can be favorable or unfavorable, are activated involuntarily and without our awareness or intentional control. Unconscious beliefs we hold about others do not necessarily align with our conscious declared beliefs. Studies show we generally tend to hold unconscious biases that favor who are most like us (in-group).

The intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse people with different identities can fully participate in all aspects of the work of an organization, including leadership positions and decision-making processes. Engaging each individual and making everyone feel valued, inclusion is the act of establishing philosophies, policies, practices, and procedures so that organizations and individuals contributing to the organizations' success have a more level playing field to compete, and equal access to opportunities and information.

Institutional Racism:
Institutions have the power to reward and penalize. Career opportunities are available to some and closed to others. They reward by the way social goods are distributed, deciding who receives training and skills, medical care, formal education, political influence, moral support and self-respect, productivity employment, fair housing, self-confidence and the promise of a secure future for self or children.

Individual vs. Institutional Racism:
Racism is overt and covert. It takes two closely related forms; individuals acting against underrepresented individuals and acts by majority society against underrepresented communities.

  • The first consists of overt acts of individuals, which cause death, injury, destruction of property, for example.
  • The second type is less overt: it originates in the operation on established respected forces in our society.

Brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward stigmatized groups, particularly culturally marginalized groups.

Conscious and intentional actions or slurs, such as using racial epithets, displaying swastikas or deliberately serving a white person before a person of color in a restaurant.

Verbal and nonverbal communications that subtly convey rudeness and insensitivity and demean a person's racial heritage or identity. An example is an employee who asks a colleague of color how she got her job, implying she may have landed it through an affirmative action or quota system.

Communications that subtly exclude, negate or nullify the thoughts, feelings or experiential reality of a person of color. For instance, white people often ask Asian-Americans where they were born, conveying the message that they are perpetual foreigners in their own land.

Treating someone as different with the intent to marginalize and promote inequality

Favorable or unfavorable opinion or feeling about a person or group, formed without knowledge or thought or reason.

A social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time. Racial categories subsume ethnic groups.

Stereotypes are something conforming to a fixed or general pattern, especially a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment.

Social Determinants of Health:
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition, social determinants of health are the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. These conditions include economic stability, education, social and community context, health/healthcare, and built environment. Specific to the nutrition and dietetics field, poverty limits access to healthy foods and safe neighborhoods; more than education is a predictor of better health.

Social Justice:
Political and philosophical concept that holds that all people should have equal access to wealth, health, well-being, justice, and opportunity.

Unconscious Mind:
Comprises mental processes that are inaccessible to consciousness but that influence judgments, feelings, or behavior, creating blind spots that can narrow your vision. It is the primary source of human behavior.

Terms defined by the Tri-County Domestic & Sexual Violence Intervention Network Anti-Oppression Training for Trainers. Created by Carol Cheney, Jeannie LaFrance and Terrie Quinteros, 2006. 503/287.9628 ext. 2. and the FNCE® 2020 Session - Healthy Communities from the Ground Up: Empowerment, Sovereignty and Equity in Our Food System.

Other terms defined as linked or by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Definition of Terms list, except for: Bias defined by Steinbock, Bonnie (1978). "Speciesism and the Idea of Equality". Philosophy. 53 (204): 247–256. doi:10.1017/S0031819100016582

Cultural Humility defined by Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Owen, J., Worthington, E. L., & Utsey, S. O. (2013). Cultural humility: Measuring openness to culturally diverse clients. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60(3), 353–366. doi:10.1037/a0032595

Cultural Safety

Culturally Sensitive Care defined by Tucker CM, Marsiske M, Rice KG, Nielson JJ, Herman K. Patient-centered culturally sensitive health care: model testing and refinement. Health Psychol. 2011;30(3):342-350. doi:10.1037/a0022967


Unconscious Mind

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