Dietitian Spotlight on Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on DECEMBER 12, 2012
Private practice owner and writer for Today’s Dietitian, Cheryl Harris, finds balance in teaching, writing, consulting, and counseling. Whew! That’s a lot of great hats to wear. Read on to see how she does it. – Sarah
Sarah Koszyk, RD: What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD: As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted been fascinated by food. I grew up in a Middle Eastern family where life revolved around food. As a runner in high school, I was able to see a very distinct link between what I ate and how I raced. I chose my major when I was around 15 and have never had a regret!
Your Job Title?
Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, Certified Wellness Coach
Company you are with now:
Harris Whole Health www.harriswholehealth.com
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you?
Each day is different, and it’s always juggling, which keeps it fresh. I do see clients most work days in Alexandria and Fairfax. I also write for Today’s Dietitian and teach courses for Dietitian Central, and am a nutrition adviser for the DC Metro Celiac Support group. And, of course, there’s also the administrative part of filing and managing appointments.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
It was simply meant to be! I ran the breastfeeding programs for DC WIC for a few years, then developed Lyme, food sensitivities and a debilitating reaction to gluten. I was aware of food as love and food as fuel, but this was new to me. I felt like I learned unique skills in managing a variety of food restrictions and chronic pain, and knew this was a gift that I needed to share. So I went into private practice around 5 years ago and here I am!
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
Listening skills and a love of food came naturally to me. Teaching is also a natural gift.
The biggest thing I’ve learned along the way is to balance passion and finances. I love doing what I do, and with my public health background, my emphasis was on serving, not necessarily money. I’ve really worked with achieving a happy medium.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Figure out what you love to do, and do it. Of course, that’s easier to say than to do!
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
A huge basket of organic, home grown fruits and veggies.