Dietetic Career Spotlight on Alpa V. Shah, US Medical Affairs, Dietary Supplements
By SARAH KOSZYK, MA RDN on FEBRUARY 25, 2016
Networking results in creating new relationships. I originally met Alpa V. Shah, MS, RDN, CDE, at the annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Nashville. Thanks to attending a networking event with Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group and Dietitians in Business and Communications Dietetic Practice Group, we were able to connect. Here’s her story on her fascinating career. – Sarah
What attracted you to the field of nutrition and dietetics?
I became fascinated with the science of the human body in high school and was especially drawn to the impact of nutrition on how well the human body functions and reacts to illnesses. I was exposed early on in my college days to a young family member with severe iron-deficiency anemia and this experience drew me even further into understanding the science of nutrition and health. This is when I quickly realized how critical education is and raising awareness about nutrition to the general population as in the case of my family member, simply having more information on infant nutrition would have prevented the iron-deficiency anemia.
Your Job Title:
Senior Medical Manager – US Medical Affairs, Dietary Supplements
Company you are with now:
Pfizer Consumer Healthcare
– LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=AAMAAALhLK8BTwU_eILUWGF_Tssjj0JAsPwcs9E&trk=hp-identity-name
A typical (or not so typical) day-in-the-work-life for you:
A typical day in my work life includes staying abreast of current scientific information in my area of practice (primarily vitamin/mineral research) and interacting with internal colleagues and/or external scientific experts and other key stakeholders. I work collaboratively with a range of colleagues internally including marketing, research and development, public affairs, regulatory, and legal, to help drive our business goals around consumer nutrition products. A key responsibility in my role in Medical Affairs is to utilize and share my scientific expertise in the area of nutrition to inform business decisions, raise awareness and understanding of key consumer nutrition needs, and to ensure ethical and credible promotion of our products and brands.
How did you get your current job in dietetics?
Networking, fostering professional relationships, and communicating career goals along with my skills and experiences.
What skills were you born with and what skills have you learned along the way?
I really cannot say there are any skills that I just have! I think everything takes work, the difference is that certain skills may come more naturally so that you don’t spend as much time honing them over the years and other skills may require more time and experience to develop. Either case, always setting the bar high for yourself and aiming for it, will help you grow.
What advice do you have for others wanting to be just as successful and fulfilled as you?
Aim high and keep working towards your goals. Seize new and different opportunities and don’t be shy about sharing your goals and dreams. All the experiences you gain along the way in your career help to shape you and provide you with perspectives that you may not have been aware of had you not had the experience. For example, while I do not work with patients now, I gained so much from my days as a RD in clinical care, both in-patient and out-patient, that is invaluable in informing what I do today and helps me better understand and advocate for consumer needs.
If you could be paid for your job with something other than a paycheck, what would it be?
Knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life in some small but meaningful way – whether it be someone that I have helped through a product they have used that I worked on or whether it is student I have mentored in my job that now has a better appreciation and understanding of the role of nutrition as they enter their professional career.