Dietetic Career Spotlight: Meredith Liss, MA, RD, CDN, CDE at NewYork-Presbyterian
By STACEY DUNN-EMKE, MS, RD on JUNE 13, 2012
This week I had the pleasure of interviewing award winning Senior Registered Dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital, our Featured Sponsor. She plays a key role as the RD on the Hospital’s Multidisciplinary Health Care Team. During National Nutrition Month this year, she was selected by her peers to receive the inaugural award for Best Registered Dietitian, 2012, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. Quite an accomplishment.
Stacey Dunn-Emke, MS, RD: What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Meredith Liss, MA, RD, CDN, CDE: Throughout my early schooling, I had a passion for science, with dreams of pursuing medical school. I was fortunate to come from a family, thanks to my mother, that sat down for home-prepared meals every night. I was always athletic and interested in fitness. I played on the high school softball and tennis teams. Amongst my biology and chemistry classes in college, I stumbled upon an “elective” nutrition class. I immediately became intrigued and was thrilled to learn that this could be my “major.” Given my love for science, my appreciation for healthy food and my need for movement/exercise, I found the perfect fit for my studies and career ahead.
What is your current Job Title and Company?
Senior Registered Dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Describe a typical (or not so typical) day in the work life for you.
I am a Senior Registered Dietitian at the Center for Special Studies (the adult HIV/AIDS care center) of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. I work on a multidisciplinary health care team that includes physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, social workers, dentists, and a gynecologist. Our program is proud to provide comprehensive care to individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Each day has its own flavor at my clinic. I meet with patients for one-on-one counseling sessions, focusing on topics that range from malnutrition, obesity and diabetes to cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disease and general wellness. I attend daily team meetings to discuss the care plans for all patients seen on that given day. As a certified diabetes educator, I co-lead a monthly Diabetes Education and Support group for patients living with both diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
After completing my dietetic internship at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, I worked at a long-term care facility, providing nutrition care for AIDS patients. This was the early 1990s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic and prior to the availability of successful, life-saving antiretroviral medication. I learned a lot about life and death, discrimination and humanity. I knew I was part of something larger than myself. I remained in contact with the faculty at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and became aware that the Center for Special Studies was recruiting a Dietitian. Already exposed to the impressive HIV/AIDS health care team during my internship, I immediately pursued this opportunity.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I was born with an innate ability to connect and communicate with others. My rapport-building skills and compassion are my biggest strengths.
When I started out in my current position, I was one of the youngest and most inexperienced members of my team. I was too hard on myself and felt inadequate at times. Over the years, I have learned to be patient and have more self-acceptance. My yoga practice over the past four years has really enriched my life. Life is one big journey and we are always growing. Be patient and let yourself evolve at your own pace.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Being part of a team I admire and respect, while being respected, has certainly played a role in my success. Keep your eyes and your mind open. Be passionate and compassionate. Trust yourself.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
I would like to be an eternal student.