Frankie Douglass

“As a minority, you often have to navigate a world that was not built for you or your success.”

Frankie Douglass is passionate about nutrition and public health. A first-generation college graduate, Frankie earned their bachelor of science in culinary nutrition in 2017. They say that their undergraduate institution had little racial and socioeconomic diversity, and they didn’t feel represented as a queer Black woman. Frankie says, “As a minority, you often have to navigate a world that was not built for you or your success.” Frankie intended to become a dietitian, but they were deterred by financial barriers and a lack of inclusivity in the field. These experiences taught Frankie to make their own seat at the table, they say.

After graduation, Frankie worked in organizations dedicated to public health nutrition including the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at Yale and CitySeed, a New Haven nonprofit dedicated to growing an equitable food system. While at CARE, Frankie co-authored a paper, “Barriers and Facilitators to Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Black Mothers,” published in “Maternal & Child Nutrition.” Frankie also served on the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group and on the New Haven Food Policy Council. Supervisors praise Frankie’s dedication and leadership, writing, “Frankie exemplifies commitment and determination, and their potential impact on the public health field is immeasurable.”

Frankie says that working with a non-white registered dietitian “reignited” their desire to become a dietitian to “push the boundaries of the field’s status quo.” Working toward their dream, Frankie is currently pursuing a Master in Public Health in the Nutritional Sciences Department at U-M. Frankie intends to work as a consultant “to help various organizations improve their approaches to community-based health interventions,” they write. In the long term, Frankie envisions starting an organization that will “embody best practices in public health” in nutrition and food system issues.

CEW + celebrates Frankie’s commitment to diversity in public health and names them the Virginia Simson Nelson Scholar.