Editor’s note: This article was written by Jessica D. Toro, POHA Grant Program Manager in the Nutrition Department of the College of Health and Applied Sciences | Health Division at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) opened its doors in 1965 and since then has become one of Colorado’s most diverse institutions, with nearly 50% of the undergraduate student body identifying as persons of color.
In 2019, MSU Denver earned the Hispanic Serving Institution designation in recognition, not only of our diverse student body, but our dedication to serving diverse students, undocumented students, refugees, and DACA students.
Housed within the university are more than 50 departments, ranging from Nursing to Social Work. One department to highlight is the Department of Nutrition. The Department of Nutrition is home to faculty and staff of over 20 registered dietitian nutritionists and health professionals.
The mission of the department is to prepare diverse students for successful careers in food, nutrition, and dietetics. Our faculty is dedicated to the success of nutrition students by providing high-quality education and resources to become qualified dietetic interns and registered dietitian nutritionists.
A registered dietitian nutritionist is a credentialed food and nutrition expert who can help patients understand the relationship between food and the body. Additionally, a registered dietitian nutritionist can, but is not limited to, assisting patients to adopt a healthy life with behavior changes which can range from preventing certain chronic diseases, gaining/losing weight, managing blood sugars to prevent the progression of diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and having a positive outlook on body size.
The Department of Nutrition was recently awarded two grants that provide services and scholarships to students in need who are interested in pursuing a career in nutrition and dietetics.
The Health Resources and Services Administration grant (HRSA) is at the undergraduate level and can award up to $26,000 per student per year. To qualify, students must be admitted to MSU Denver as a Nutrition and Dietetics major, be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours), be a low-income and/or the first-generation student, and have financial need as determined by FAFSA.
The Post-baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (POHA) is at the graduate level and can award up to $5,000 in scholarships and an additional $5,000 in stipends. To qualify for an award, students must be admitted to the MSU Denver Department of Nutrition graduate program, show interest in diversifying the field of nutrition and dietetics, and complete a FAFSA.
The two grants allow the department to provide unique student services to ensure the success of diverse students.
The department offers a mentorship program that pairs nutrition students with health professionals. We also offer workshops and seminars on financial literacy, writing competency, cultural humility, and diversity in the field of dietetics; peer to peer mentorship that allows POHA scholars (graduate students) to be pairs with HRSA scholars (undergraduate students); and an advising specialist that guides you through the program.
At MSU Denver and the Department of Nutrition, we aim to provide students with the resources they need to become effective leaders in the field of nutrition and dietetics. Moreover, our objective is to break down the financial barrier students face when completing their undergraduate and graduate degrees.
To find out more about our program and how to become a registered dietitian nutritionist, please visit our website at msudenver.edu/nutrition or schedule an appointment with an advisor by giving our department a call at 303-615-0990.
Here is a flyer about the scholarships: