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Mentoring as the Segue to Leadership in Dietetics: A Grounded Theory Study

Hunter, Anne Marie B. PhD, RD, LD, FADA; Lewis, Nancy M. PhD, RD, FADA; Ritter-Gooder, Paula K. PhD, RD, CSG, LMNT

doi: 10.1097/TIN.0b013e31826f8da5
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The purpose of this study was to determine the process/model of how dietitians develop into leaders, based on descriptions provided by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) leaders. The qualitative methodology of grounded theory included semistructured audio-recorded telephone interviews of 25 nationally elected or appointed leaders of the Academy in the United States. Open coding identified the themes: born/made, mentoring, horizontal development, personal growth, “getting hooked,” and “from fear to freedom.” Axial and selective coding collapsed the themes into the central phenomenon: mentoring as the segue to leadership in dietetics. The model illustrates the hypothesized sequential unfolding of the leadership development process among dietitians.

Department of Biomedical Sciences/Dietetics Program, Missouri State University, Springfield (Dr Hunter); and Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, (Drs Lewis and Ritter-Gooder).

Correspondence: Anne Marie B. Hunter, PhD, RD, LD, FADA, Department of Biomedical Sciences/Dietetics Program, Missouri State University, 901 S. National Ave, Springfield, MO 65897 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.