Dietetic Career Spotlight on Noemi Jimenez, counseling those in need
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on MARCH 30, 2015
Meet Noemi Jimenez, aspiring dietetic student, who knows the power of dreaming big and demonstrating perseverance. She is rocking the student dietetic world and making big leaps and bounds. Read on to learn more about Noemi and her future goal of helping low-income families gain valuable nutritional care. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
Like many people, I grew up on the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. My mother always cooked homemade meals and fast-food was something we ate every other Sunday after church. She rarely bought snacks to keep in the home and was not one to cave into our sweet tooth. My mother led by example. She truly lives by the motto, “everything in moderation.” As I grew into my teenage years I was always counting calories. I grew to love nutrition and in my spare time found myself researching health and wellness topics. What I’ve learned from my personal experience and research is that nutrition is far beyond counting calories. I quickly began to see the connection between nutrition and disease. I’ve also come to realize that many factors affect our health such as poverty and accessibility to nutritious food. I personally grew up in a home where nutritious food was always available, however, as I’ve grown to be a woman with a family of her own, I have also lived the struggles of not having enough resources to provide my family with nutritious foods. I have experienced firsthand how hard it is to provide healthy food to my family when we live on a very limited budget. I have also experienced the conditions that come with low-income. After becoming pregnant with my second daughter, I found myself gaining much weight, a weight that I struggle with now. Although a person’s eating habits are a major cause of gain weight, so are other factors like mental health, physical health, environmental health, or even financial health. During both of my pregnancies I was never counseled on the importance of nutrition and lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy. I was also never educated or offered to see a registered dietitian. In fact, I have noticed that many health care providers that provide services to low-income people do not have a registered dietitian on staff. My desire to educate myself helped me understand a basic understanding of a healthy pregnancy, however, the fact is that not all women are educating themselves or have knowledge of the resources available to them. I find that there is a lack in addressing these issues. For these reasons I am in the nutrition and dietetics field. I am passionate about educating myself and using my knowledge to help women and children become educated on health and nutrition.
School you are studying at now?
California State University, Fresno
– TWITTER: https://twitter.com/noemifjimenez
What area of dietetics do you want to go into once you graduate?
My journey is going to prepare me to work with women and children. As a mother, I see the role mothers play in the family. I am primarily responsible for purchasing and preparing our food. It is my responsibility to exemplify healthy eating behaviors. Today, families live in a fast-paced world with busy and hectic schedules. Due to school and work schedules many families do not have the opportunity to eat together as a family. Other families live below the poverty line and do not have access to nutritious foods, therefore, many rely on fast and convenient foods. My goal and vision is to make change happen. As a future community leader, I see myself working closely with obstetricians and helping mother’s learn about the importance of nutrition for a healthy pregnancy. I also see myself as an advocate for healthy schools and communities. Many communities have limited resources and lack access to healthy food, it is my goal to work closely with the city, county and state to increase and improve the participation of current nutrition programs.
Describe your dream job:
I would like to own a health care center that provides services for low-income people in which doctors work closely with registered dietitians. Once, during a scheduled appointment for my oldest daughter, out of curiosity asked if they had a registered dietitian on staff, the reply I received was, “No, she was not really being used and so we don’t have one anymore. But we need to have one. Many of our patients have conditions like diabetes and they can benefit from seeing a registered dietitian regularly.” I was shocked and disappointed to hear this. As I previously mentioned, I also want to become an advocate for healthy communities. My dream job would include a nutrition program that excels beyond the limited boundaries of providing resources to low-income families. It would be a dream come true to see low-income communities with resources and opportunities that will allow them to flourish into healthy communities.
Any special projects or nutrition endeavors you are doing?
I am currently working closely with the Central Valley District Dietetic Association National Nutrition Month® coordinator among other nutrition educators and student volunteers in planning a nutrition carnival. Additionally, I am also working on the specifics of starting a summer nutrition program for women and children in my hometown.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
There are two skills that I highly take pride in, (1) the power to dream big, and (2) perseverance. I am a strong believer in that I have the capability of achieving anything I set my mind to. Perseverance is my guidance to achieving my dreams. In my journey to becoming a future registered dietitian I have learned that only I have the power to create my future, opportunities do not come to me rather I have to search and create my own. I have also learned that asking is a powerful tool.