by BRIANNA PETERSON, RD, LD, CPT on AUGUST 15, 2011
Talk about the perfect dinner party companion. Brianna Peterson, RD, LD, CPT, combines a career in dietetics with exercise physiology. She shares her career path with NutritionJobs.What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics? I have a huge passion for health. Knowing that you can prevent some diseases, fight early signs of aging, […]
Dr. Karen Reznik Dolins, EdD, RD, CSSD, CDN, is a Lecturer at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, Sports Dietitian for Columbia University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education, Nutrition Consultant to the New York Knicks, and guest lecturer for the WNBA, Cirque du Soleil, and Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon
NutritionJobs: What career mistakes have you made along the way?
Karen Dolins: Many, I’m sure. I’ll tell you that the most difficult thing for me is tooting my own horn. Marketing is not a strength of mine. As a result, I’ve lost out on some opportunities. I had one great opportunity that didn’t go anywhere. I think I was too nervous at the time and didn’t do enough receptive listening. I never got feedback, but my guess is that I could have been a better listener to the athletes, and been more sensitive to the fact that they were getting information from a wide variety of people and I perhaps could have been more open to being sensitive to that.
NutritionJobs.com: You have been an RD for over 30 years and are also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. You have two Master’s Degrees (Nutritional Science and Social Service), you are the author of several publications, including “Counseling Tips for Nutrition Therapists,” and you are a leading expert in Motivational Interviewing. All this while also running your own nutrition and psychotherapy private practice that specializes in eating disorders, disordered eating and binge eating. Impressive! Can you tell us how you got where you are?
Molly Kellogg: My first jobs in nutrition were in a WIC program and then in a hospital pre-natal clinic. I wanted to help people eat better! I then started a private practice on a part time basis in the 1980’s. During this time, eating disorders started coming my way and I realized I needed more skills. I started taking workshops, reading, trying to figure it out, until finally I decided I needed to more training and went back to school to get a Social Work degree in the mid 1990’s. As I was getting that degree I realized my colleagues were going to be therapists, and that I could become a psychotherapist too. I never planned to leave the field of nutrition but this is the way it evolved, and the fields are very complimentary. I started getting asked by nutrition colleagues to do workshops and training on counseling skills. Now half of what I do is writing, speaking, and training nutritional professionals on counseling. I mostly train dietitians who work in private practice, outpatient hospital clinics, or eating disorder programs where they realize, as I did, that we didn’t get enough counseling training in our nutrition training.
We had the pleasure of interviewing three more power-players in the supermarket arena. All three are dietitians who enjoy getting their health message out to the masses and helping consumers choose healthy options from the start – in their grocery cart!
NutritionJobs: You recently spoke on the topic of Supermarket Nutrition at FNCE this year and discussed the opportunities for dietitians as “Supermarket Dietitians”. Can you tell us how you found yourself in the position as a Corporate Dietitian for the Arizona grocery store chain, Bashas’?
Barbara Ruhs: My exposure to education in the supermarket setting started when I was an undergraduate at Cornell in the 1990’s. I worked as a research assistant for a work study project leading supermarket tours at Wegman’s (an East Coast grocery store chain). The seed was planted. During graduate school and my internship at Boston University, I did a community health rotation at Boston Public Schools. This experience solidified my interest in public health. My first job was working for the Massachusetts Child Nutrition Programs implementing the Dietary Guidelines in school meals. Changing school meals for better health was challenging due to many things, including financial constraints. Making global changes in government programs takes a lot of time and political will. I found myself asking the question, “There must be a better way to make difference?”. So, I started my own business, Neighborhood Nutrition, to bring the message back to the local level and use retail venues to educate. I pitched the idea to store personnel in my neighborhood at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I even had the opportunity to present the idea at the corporate offices for large retailers in Boston, including Stop & Shop and Shaws. There was a positive response, however, the missing piece was funding. No one had a corporate budget for nutrition education or health promotion. So I continued to build my private practice and worked as a dietitian for Harvard University. The exposure to different ethnic, educational and financial backgrounds of the clientele inspired me to develop new approaches to solve public health issues. Eventually I received a lead about a supermarket job at Bashas’ in Arizona and jumped at the opportunity for my dream job.
NutritionJobs: You have been the Dietetic Internship (DI) Program Director at San Francisco State University (SFSU) for over 5 years where you program and coordinate supervised practice experience for 10-12 interns annually and maintain 50+ preceptors in clinical, food service, skilled nursing and community facilities around the San Francisco Bay Area. How has the landscape changed since you have been a DI Program Director?
Wanda Siu-Chan, MS, RD: Getting into internships has become extremely competitive. I really feel for the many applicants who are certainly well qualified for a dietetic internship, but do not get matched. Because of the large number of applicants vying for limited spots, especially on the East and West coast, the applicants who are generally matched have very high GPAs and extensive work and volunteer experience.
NutritionJobs.com: You received your Diet Technician registered (DTR) certificate at Merritt College in 2008 and have worked at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC) and with Byram Healthcare. Would you consider your jobs traditional or non-traditional?
Nancy Bloom: I would consider both my jobs have traditional aspects but also rather untraditional aspects in terms of what I am able to do under the supervision of an RD.
What does your day look like at SFVAMC?
Working as a DTR at the SFVAMC, I work very closely with the RD’s. I don’t know of any other place that gives you such lateral experience and amount of responsibility in the field. My regular day at the SFVAMC can include a myriad of tasks such as a comprehensive screening of patients at mildly/moderately compromised nutritional risk, nutrition consults, teaching classes, DT intern and RD intern training, and special event planning.
NutritionJobs: You are currently working as an RD alongside a team of cardiologists at the Cardiovascular Associates of Marin & San Francisco, where you practice Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) with patients and their families. Can you tell us how you got there?
Nancy Bloom: I’ve always liked cardiac nutrition having been a volunteer with the American Heart Association since 1979. When I moved back to California from New York I heard about an individual counseling job here through a friend. I interviewed, got the job and I’ve been here over 12 years. At first my practice ebbed and flowed. Then about 4 years ago, I took a Motivational Interviewing (MI) course from Molly Kellogg, RD, from Philadelphia, and was able to take my counseling program to another level and grow my practice to where it is today.
NutritionJobs: You have been the Nutrition Strategist at Clif Bar & Co. for over 10 years. You started in the Customer Service Department and then developed and expanded the Nutrition Department. Your current role is in Nutrition Brand Strategy, Nutrition Education, Nutrition Communication, and Nutrition Labeling Claims affairs. Tell us how you got there.
Tara DelloIacono Thies: As you mentioned, I started in Consumer Service (CS). They had just launched Luna Bar and were getting tons of nutrition questions that they couldn’t answer. Clif Bar had a dietitian that consulted for them but they decided they needed an RD on staff to answer these sorts of questions. The position quickly evolved into having me train the CS department to answer the nutrition questions we frequently received. I wrote nutrition resources for the CS team. The brand and marketing teams then also started using those nutrition resources, which linked into the development process for new products that would impact the health of women, kids, and athletes. This all fed into the strategy portion of my job, which is now what I spend a lot of time thinking about and doing. Wondering how can we make a healthy product that will really benefit certain populations.
NutritionJobs: You have a very unique career and job title as a Dietitian Informaticist at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. Your impressive resume reads like that of an Information Technology Manager rather than a Registered Dietitian. How would you describe your job?
Lee Unangst: I have a couple of major responsibilities. I do everything from setting up servers and patching databases to processing diet orders and figuring out why printers aren’t printing out meal tickets! I run our patient service using CBORD Foodservice Management System. I serve as the ambassador between the kitchen, the dietetic staff and the hospital’s Information Technology (IT) department; I help facilitate communication between groups with very different backgrounds. My background in nutrition and clinical dietetics is critical in this role. This job has been a great experience!