Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What RDs Do: Justine Horne, MSc, RD, PhD student

JUSTINE HORNE
JUSTINE THE RD & ASSOCIATES
for something nutrishus


As a fellow dietitian advocate, Justine was happy to share her unique experiences in the series. She works in a variety of area, as we've seen many dietitians do. As someone that has offered Nutrigenomix testing to past clients, it is interesting for me to hear about the PhD work Justine is doing and I look forward to seeing the future of that area. It's also no surprise that she's a lifelong learner, something very important in a science-based industry.

Why did you become a RD?

I’ve always been interested in nutrition and I remember learning about what dietitians do in Grade 6. I thought it was so cool that there was a job where you get to learn, and teach people about nutrition – I still think it’s really cool! My original interest in nutrition probably stemmed from my involvement in competitive sports as a child, which continued into my adult years. I now recognize a wider variety of reasons as to why nutrition is so important. 

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I have a variety of nutrition-related interests so I work in a few different areas including: private practice at Justine the RD and Associates, community nutrition at The East Elgin Family Health Team, education at Brescia University College, research at Western University and research/education at Nutrigenomix Inc. 

How would you explain what you do?

I own an online nutrition consulting business, Justine the RD and Associates, where we mainly provide personalized nutrition recommendations to clients via secure online video chat, but also do other nutrition-related tasks such as group presentations when requested. I also work at the East Elgin Family Health Team where I lead group programs for the community aimed to optimize health and well-being. At Western University I am a lecturer for a clinical nutrition course at Brescia University College and am also a PhD candidate in Health and Aging. I’ve done a lot of consulting work for a company, Nutrigenomix Inc, which provides personalized DNA-based dietary advice to consumers exclusively through healthcare professionals. 


What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

My work life usually consists of a variety of daily/weekly tasks including: 
  • Liaising with the associate RDs I work with at Justine the RD and Associates to ensure we are providing the best nutrition plans for our clients
  • Conducting my research (The Nutrigenomics, Overweight/Obesity and Weight Management Trial) which consists of several tasks including: providing education to clients about weight management, explaining the results of genetic reports, assessing body composition and dietary intake, and analyzing the study’s results
  • Planning, delivering, and evaluating health and wellness programs at The East Elgin Family Health Team 
  • Teaching healthcare providers and university students about the science and clinical application of nutrigenomics 
  • Attending PhD-level university courses and completing course work
  • Keeping up on the latest and greatest scientific advancements in nutrition!

What has been your career path?

I started my career in diabetes education at a community health centre in Kitchener. I then began working for Nutrigenomix Inc, started my private practice and started lecturing at Brescia University College. Recognizing my passion for research and education, I decided to enroll in a PhD program and ended up accepting a job at a family health team where I am currently conducting my research (“The NOW Trial”). I hope that this experience will one day lead me to obtain a tenure-tracked professor position at a prestigious university. 

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I love learning and am a self-proclaimed research geek, so naturally I’ve been in school forever. I have a Bachelor of Science degree, Certificate in Practical French, Master of Science degree, and am currently in the process of completing my PhD. I currently have 400 hours towards my Certified Diabetes Education designation and aim to have the letters “CDE” behind my name one day soon. 

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

My greatest hope for the next 5 years relates to genetic testing. I think this will become common practice for registered dietitians, where the vast majority of clinical RDs will be using this technology to provide personalized nutrition to their clients. In an ideal world, this testing will be covered by insurance companies as insurance companies will begin to realize the value of providing personalized nutrition information based on an individual’s genetics to optimize health outcomes. I also think we are going to start to see more public awareness about what RDs do! 

What is your favourite meal?

I absolutely LOVE enchiladas. I’ve been known to throw a tasty enchilada fiesta on the occasional Friday night. 

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

I am passionate about providing innovative and personalized nutrition services, and am passionate about completing research in order to advance our knowledge about how to improve health outcomes - especially those pertaining to weight management. 

More about Justine:

Twitter: @justinehorneRD

Clinical Trial Registration (The Nutrigenomics, Overweight/Obesity and Weight Management Trial)


Thanks Justine! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What RDs Do: Holly Heartz, RD, MSESS

HOLLY HEARTZ
CLINICAL & DOG DIETITIAN
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I follow Holly on facebook, likely from her previous sport work, so I already knew she was an animal lover/advocate, but I didn't know she was working in that area. She sees similar challenges with misinformation and getting respect from health care practitioners that we deal with in human nutrition. Unlike some that got into the profession based on a positive interaction with a dietitian, Holly had a different experience, but it still motivated her and now she works in her area of passion.

Why did you become a RD?

As a teen I was always trying to lose weight even though I really didn’t need to lose weight. It wasn’t until after I had my children that I struggled with the excess pounds. I went to Weight Watchers which helped. I saw a RD which didn’t help. She gave me a meal plan but didn’t really talk to me. I remember asking something about how the “skinny people in Hollywood” were able to be so slim. All she said was that they weren’t healthy. After 2 visits I didn’t go back. 

I became a RD to provide answers to people searching for nutrition truths just like I was searching. I was hungry for information. What I love the most about nutrition was the science.


What area of dietetics do you work in?

I work as a clinical dietitian but my love of animals led to the creation of Dog Dietitian. There is a wealth of inaccurate information about dog nutrition that spills over from human nutrition. Dog owners are just as confused about how to feed their dogs as they are about their own nutrition. They also get their nutrition information from inaccurate source such as breeders or trainers.

How would you explain what you do?

My main objective is to provide accurate science-based information about canine nutrition. I do this via blogs and personal contacts with those reaching out to me for answers. 

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?

I spend a little bit of time every day learning some aspect of either dog nutrition or behaviour (dogs and horses). I am currently developing an education series that will be available on my website. Sometimes I’m contacted by veterinarians who want clarification about nutrition messages dog food reps have presented to them.


What has been your career path?

Since 1998 I have worked in various facilities as a clinical RD. I have also worked in nursing homes and teach nutrition and sports nutrition at the university level. Until 2 years ago, I operated a private practice with a sport nutrition focus.

I still work as a clinical RD while operating Dog Dietitian. In the future I would like to explore enrichment, including dietary enrichment, for horses and dogs.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I never stop learning and am always taking courses. Besides 2 BSc degrees (biology and nutrition) I have a Masters in exercise and sport science, studying integrative and functional nutrition, and a sports nutrition diploma from the IOC. I have taken graduate courses in animal behaviour and companion animal nutrition from Southern Illinois University (just to name a few).

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

* More respect. 
* More RDs with dual or advanced degrees so nutrition can infiltrate many disciplines. 
* No question in the public's mind that the person to see about any nutrition issue is a RD. 

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

That RDs and the nutrition information we provide is not influenced by companies.  

What would you like people to know about RDs?

Not everyone interested in nutrition has what it takes to become a RD. It’s not as simple as being able to create a meal plan or develop delicious recipes. Understanding (and passing) courses in chemistry (organic, biochem), physiology, etc is challenging. We need to think critically in applying this information with consideration to people’s behaviour, environment, health status, etc. 

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

I would like people to understand the difference between a RD and a nutritionist.

Some veterinarians have difficulty accepting me as a nutrition professional for dogs. While they do consult to other specialists many don’t have access to a veterinary nutritionist and take on this role themselves. Just like medical doctors their time is limited to spend with dog owners to help them establish a dietary regime for their dog.

What are you passionate about in dietetics?

After almost 20 years I still love the science. With science there is always something new and exciting on the horizon such as nutrigenomics.

What is your favourite meal?

I love salmon with lemon and a salad…and wine.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers?

For those looking for a career outside the box, look to create a business around what you love.

More about Holly:

Facebook: Dog Dietitian
Instagram: @holly.heartz
Twitter: @DogDietitian


Thanks Holly! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What RDs Do: Stefanie Dove, RDN, CDN

STEFANIE DOVE
SCHOOL NUTRITION MARKETING COORDINATOR
for something nutrishus


Stefanie came across the series on Instagram and I'm glad she shared her experiences. She is working in an area where she gets to do the things she loves and some are non-traditional ones that were my inspiration for starting this series. My role in communications is very different from Stefanie's and I don't know if we have similar positions to hers here in Canada, but it sounds like a very important role for supporting the next generation and staying in online conversations. Her story and career path is a great reminder that dietitians possess many skills and can find or create positions doing the things they're passionate about. 

Why did you become a RD? 

I am a second career RD who decided to leave a career in fashion for one in nutrition after I made nutrition and wellness a key component of my life resulting in me losing 105 pounds through diet and exercise on my own. I started talking to people about what I was doing and one day my friend asked me why I never went to school for nutrition. I did not have an answer, so resigned from my position in fashion and enrolled in a nutrition program. I am all about putting your passions in life with a purpose and I feel that this career allows me to do just that. 

What area of dietetics do you work in? 

I work in the marketing and communications area of dietetics for a school nutrition program and act as the School Nutrition Marketing Coordinator.

How would you explain what you do? 

I blog, tweet, take pictures of cute kids and food, play in the school gardens, talk to kids about eating the rainbow, create posters and flyers for marketing campaigns and do some recipe development…..seriously living the RD dream over here….

What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks? 

Since I oversee all of the marketing and promotions for my department, I check social media each morning when I get to the office (6:30 A.M). After sorting through social media, if I don’t already have posts scheduled for the day, I will knock a few out and then tackle emails. I spend a lot of my time out at schools whether it is in the classroom teaching a nutrition education lesson or harvesting lettuce with students in one of the gardens so we can talk about why you should eat your vegetables and what parts of the plant you can eat. I make it a point to stop in to the cafeterias at our schools for breakfast and lunch so that I can capture some pictures of our meals and also sit and chat with students about what they like and don’t like. If I am lucky, I get asked serious questions such as what Lisa Frank leopard is the cutest. No joke, that conversation has happened.

I work with the school nutrition specialists in my department to develop and organize promotional events for the month such as National School Breakfast Week, Talk Like A Pirate Day, or one of our most popular days, Dr. Seuss’ Birthday. Since I develop all of the flyers, graphics, signs, etc. for our program, I spend quite a bit of time at my computer. Photoshop and I have developed a love/hate relationship over the past few years. I also work with teachers and community partners on a regular basis to help them with lesson and program planning so that they feel empowered to include nutrition education into their daily activities with students. I also speak locally and nationally on topics such as food allergy management, childhood nutrition, school gardens, farm to school and brand management and marketing. 

What has been your career path? 

While fashion might not relate to nutrition, my career in fashion as an accessories designer helped set me up with my love for all things marketing and social media. I was still working in fashion when Twitter launched and I remember thinking to myself that this is going to be something big. I asked my boss at the time to start a company Twitter account and I would manage it. She thought I was crazy, but agreed because she knew I would not let go of it. After that took off, I then realized how influential fashion bloggers were, so organized the first blogger conference for my company. I remember how exciting that was and it just so happened that this took place within weeks of my deciding to go back to school for nutrition.

The first day of Nutrition 101 in college, I was asked “what type of RD do you want to be?” My response was “I want to have a job where I can take pictures of food, tweet and blog about it.” Naturally, my response was met with gasps from my classmates since I did not respond with the “safe” answer. I stuck with that idea and was fortunate to begin interning with a NYC-based RD, Laura Cipullo, who allowed me to collaborate with her on social media, marketing, nutrition education, and recipe development. Working with her opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that a RD could have. She had her own private practice, but managed to do all of these exciting things as well. While interning with Laura, I started working with a children’s food startup in NYC and handled all of their social media. Being able to work with editors on feature stories, meet with vendors, and write daily blog posts, was not only exciting at the time, but I also realized that I truly enjoyed this side of nutrition. When my former preceptor told me about my now current position with Loudoun County Schools, I was shocked that it would be able to do everything that I had always wanted to do as a RD in one job. I applied that afternoon and 2 months later moved out of my NYC bubble and into the suburbs of D.C.

What advanced education or special training do you have? 

I received my B.S. in Nutrition from Lehman College in NYC and completed my Dietetic Internship (DI) through Lenoir-Rhyne in Asheville, North Carolina. I am in the process of completing my M.S. in Digital Marketing and Communications from Liberty University since I feel that this is a unique degree for a RD to have, however, based on the trends of where this field is heading, I think it will prove to be valuable. 

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now? 

In a perfect world, I would like to see more school districts using RDs for similar positions as mine. There are a lot of RDs who want to pursue a creative venue in nutrition without branching out and doing their own personal blog, site, etc. Working with a school district will provide this creative freedom without the additional stress of maintaining your personal social media at the same time. Marketing and social media positions also allow more RDs to work remotely, which is helpful for those who want to live in places where there are few RD positions available. 

What do people think that you do for a living? 

Since I work for a school district, people think I am a teacher, then when I tell them I am the Marketing Coordinator for School Nutrition, I just get blank stares LOL 

What are you passionate about in dietetics? 

Nothing is more rewarding than leaving the office at the end of the day knowing that you made a difference in the life of someone. As a RD, receiving an email from a parent saying that their child tried spinach for the first time at school and loved it so much that they asked to go to the store to get some for dinner or having a group of 4th graders squeal with excitement because you carried a tray of fresh fruit and veggies in their classroom, makes it all worthwhile. 

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals? 

We are the nutrition experts. Sometimes, I feel that society has made RDs question their validation as the true nutrition expert and we (myself included), just need to remember that WE are the ones who struggled through our DI’s and then studied to know end in order to pass the RD exam, not the person who has 100k followers on Instagram and posts beautiful pics of smoothie bowls.

What tip(s) would you give to our readers? 

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to your career path. Chances are, there is already a RD who is doing something similar, just look them up, reach out to them and ask them questions. I have done that a million times with RDs who inspire me and I have never been met with a “no.”

More about Stefanie:

Instagram: @StefanieDove and @LCPSCafe
Pinterest: @StefanieDove


Thanks Stefanie! Find out more about What RDsDo.

If you're a dietitian that would like to be featured, email me for the details!