Wednesday, May 30, 2012

s/p intern (June 22, 2012)

I’m happy to report this is my last blog post!  That means I’ve almost officially survived being an intern.  It’s been a challenging, rewarding, and insightful past ten months.  I’ve learned more and grown more professionally than I ever could have imagined. 

Now it’s time to start switching gears out of intern mode and into job search mode.  Because I’m moving back to my hometown after graduation, my job search strategy  has been to network like crazy with as many RDs as possible who may be able to help me find a job in the area where I’m looking.  Some are preceptors at local rotations that I coordinated with my internship director to set up close home.  Other contacts are professionals I have met at conferences and meetings.  Everyone I’ve talked to has been more than willing to talk to me and offer any kind of help they can.  I’ve had people give me contact information for hiring managers and recruiters, offer to forward me job postings as they receive them, and even agree to allow me to come for rotations.  For me, the support from the RD community to an intern about to become a new RD has been very positive. 

I’m grateful for my experience as an intern and to my preceptors for teaching me so much!  Before I know it, my life as an intern will be over and I’ll be working as a Registered Dietitian!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The New Movie Stars of Riderwood TV

Unbelievable as it might seem, the dietetic internship is coming to a close. We have only  3 more weeks of rotations and 1 week of elective left! I am currently in my last rotation at Riderwood and enjoying the mental break, kitchen time, and fun experiences.

Yesterday, my partner Sasha Bard and I filmed a commercial to play on the Riderwood TV channel promoting our theme meal coming up on June 8th.  We even got to film in the TV studio on the Riderwood Campus! Here are some pictures from the day!

June is National Great Outdoors month so we are planning a Great Outdoors themed luncheon. Menu items include:

Bison Sliders
Golden Trout
Lavender and Herb Grilled Chicken
Wild Mushroom Raviolis
Dandelion Greens
Roasted Golden Beets and Fennel
Wild Rice
Camp Side Bean Bake
Chilled Pea Soup with Mint
Micro-Greens Salad with Blackberries and Pine Nuts
Blue Corn Muffins with Agave Butter
S’mores Bars

We had a lot of fun and even got Chef Elliot to join us in the ad, which will begin airing next Wednesday. Once we have the recording I will post a link for viewing! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

            L- Cysteine in your diet

            Last week my fellow interns and I had the opportunity to visit the Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore.  The Vegetarian Resources Group is a non- profit organization with the aim of providing education on vegetarianism and any other issue related to health, nutrition, and world hunger. This organization has a website where consumers can visit at anytime.  The organization also publishes vegetarian journals, sells cookbooks, and pamphlets.  We spent our time discussing a vegan diet and vegan “MyPlate”.  We also discussed reading food labels and looking up ingredients in  food products. One of the food ingredients we discussed was the use of L-Cysteine as a food ingredient.  Why is it important for dietitians to know about L- Cysteine?

What is L-Cysteine?

L-Cysteine is a non- essential amino acid used in bakery products as a dough conditioner.  It helps to keep the dough from shrinking in pizza crust and pita bread.  It also helps to reduce the mixing time of the flour dough. Cysteine is used in bagels, croissants, hard rolls, cake donuts, some crackers and melba toast. It is also used as a nutrient in baby milk formula and dietary supplements. L- Cysteine is made from human hair, chicken feathers and synthetic material.

Why RD’s should know about  L-Cystiene?

Registered Dietitians work in different environmental settings with different age groups and cultural backgrounds. It is also important for healthcare providers to understand and respect a person’s background and cultural values.  For example Cystiene is considered “Haram” (prohibition given to anything that would result in sin) in Muslim religion especially if it is made from human hair because the Islamic doesn’t allow consuming any part of human body.  As a dietitian it is always important to know not only the medical condition of client but also cultural background of people offering the service to ensure that they are  providing appropriate recommendations with in clients religious and clutral beliefs. With the growing diversity of the U.S. population, dietitians are increasingly called on to make their service more widely available in racially and ethnically diverse localities.

Getting my hair cut!!

Tips on how best to reach prospective clients

  •    Visiting local community centers and gathering spots such as ethnic grocery stores can help you become familiar with particular culture.
  •    Contact local gov’t agencies to find out what demographic data they can provide for the geographic area you serve.
  •     Seeking the assistance of community leaders in assessing community needs is essential. Ask for help from community leaders in understanding a culture.

When you are initiating outreach to diverse community groups, remember that you are the newcomer and trying to build a relationship with a new group. So as a dietitian help prospective clients to understand how your professional services can be beneficial.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Look into Long-Term Care

By: Lauren Hogan, Dietetic Intern

This past week, I got a quick glimpse into the role of the Registered Dietitian (RD) in the long-term care setting. I want to begin by clarifying my confusion about the meaning of "long-term care." Previously, I thought long-term care referred primary to the type of care elderly adults received once independent living was no longer feasible. However, there are multiple levels of care for aging adults, i.e. rehabilitation, assisted-living, long-term care, etc.

During this rotation, I worked primarily with the RD overseeing the Short-Term Rehab of Renaissance Garden in the Riderwood Community. I have a lot of respect for dietitians working with this population due to the nutritional challenges that arise as we get older. Generally speaking as we age, our sensory function declines, appetite wanes, and muscle mass decreases quickly (e.g. unintentional weight loss).  It may seem like an uphill battle to start, yet it truly takes an RD with patience and the ability to think "out-side-the-box" to develop a nutrition care plan to meet the resident's needs. I also enjoyed the unique opportunity the RD has to build relationships with their residents simply because residents' stay tend to last longer compared to more acute care settings.

Finally, I appreciated being a part of a close-knit interdisciplinary team! Working hand-in-hand with nursing staff, speech therapy, mental health, physical therapy, social work, and physicians contributes to holistic approach to health management for this population. Many of team members convene regularly during the care plan meetings with the resident and their family members to discuss concerns, accomplishments, and goals for the resident. Likewise, I had a great experience and learned a lot about the role of the dietitian and the needs of our aging American population!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Networking: More Important Than Ever

By Sasha B. Bard, MS (Dietetic Intern)

Last Saturday I got to attend and present at the DCMADA (DC Metro Area Dietetic Association) Annual Meeting. The topic of the meeting was "The Role of the Licensed Nutrition Expert: More Important Than Ever."

Six of the UMD College Park Interns, including myself, had abstracts selected and were asked to give poster presentations at the meeting. My abstract and poster featured a case study I did during my clinical rotation at Baltimore Washington Medical Center titled "Medical Nutrition Therapy for Preterm Infants with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome."

All nine of the students with selected abstracts were given the opportunity to display their projects in a student poster presentation area at the meeting. In between speakers and on breaks the dietitians at the meeting stopped by to look at the posters, ask questions, and discuss our projects. This was a great opportunity to meet dietetic practitioners in the area (old and new). The sponsor of the student poster presentation was a 50 year member of DCMADA!

Although I enjoyed the presenters, I believe the most beneficial part of this type of event is the networking. Getting to know other area dietitians and building a network of colleagues is an essential part of becoming a professional. There is so much to learn from the RDs that have walked the path before us and that walk it with us. Events like the DCMADA Annual Meeting are a perfect opportunity to connect and gain allies in the field. Every moment can be used for networking- at registration, during breaks, at lunch, talking to exhibitors, even standing in line for the bathroom.

I personally had a great time interacting with fellow interns (from UMCP as well as other programs) who will be essential connections for the rest of my career. I also reconnected with RDs who were preceptors of mine earlier in the year and made new connections as well. I think that one crucial "Role of the Licensed Nutrition Expert" that is "More Important Than Ever" is networking!

**Also, be sure to check out Rachel Coury's recent blog post on her experience at DCMADA's Annual Meeting.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DCMADA: An Intern's Perspective

By: Rachel Coury

Last Saturday our internship class had the opportunity to attend the District of Columbia Metro Area Dietetic Association Annual Meeting. It was the first professional conference for many of us and at the end of the day we all agreed that professional meetings were not only educational but also a lot of fun! We were able to practice our networking skills by meeting many new local dietitians and catching-up with previous preceptors and other area interns.

The theme of this year's meeting was "The Role of the Licensed Nutrition Expert: More Important Than Ever." We were able to listen to talks on many cutting-edge issues, such as nutrigenomics. We learned that researchers were studying the effect of individuals' chemical makeup on their varying responses to food and drugs. For example, researchers found that women tend to absorb calcium better from food sources while men on average are able to tolerate calcium in the form of supplements better. Another "hot button" issue that was discussed was sustainability. To my surprise, we learned that there is no uniform definition of "locally grown." It can refer to anything that was produced in a 20 mile radius, same state, or even same territory depending on the store. Mary Lee Chin of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association shared with us that by the year 2050 our population is projected to reach 9 billion and in order to support this growing population we will need a 70% increase in food production.

We were also able to learn about some of America's food trends that were derived from the NHANES national food survey "What We Eat in America." According to the survey, in 2007-2008 the mean caloric intake was 2700 kcals for individuals over 2, which is a 200 kcal per day increase from the late 1970s. American's increase in consumption of pizza, sugary drinks, and snacks were also discussed during the presentation.

All in all, professional conferences aren't nearly as scary or intimidating as I thought they would be. DCMADA was both informative and fun! It provided a great chance to network with area dietitians and learn about the new research being conducted in our field. I now find myself excitedly awaiting my next conference opportunity, FNCE anyone?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Class Day With the Vegetarian Resource Group

Class days in the UMD dietetic internship are designed to make us well rounded dietitians and teach us about every aspect of our field. Today’s class day was with the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) in Baltimore. A number of us have already come across vegetarian patients during our rotations thus far and anticipate seeing more in our future jobs. The VRG taught us why a variety of people choose this lifestyle as well as personal tactics to ensure sufficient intake of essential nutrients typically found in animal products. Everyone in attendance was required to bring a vegan dish to pass at lunch. It was noted that our class had provided the “best” vegan pot luck lunch in the history of intern classes.  The VRG succeeded in exposing us to new healthy dishes, and helped us better understand our future vegan/vegetarian clients. 

I think we can all learn something from vegetarians: how to make your vegetables more fun and exciting! I wrote a blog a couple months ago about building meals around vegetables instead of meat. American food typically calls for a lot of special attention to the meat portion of meals. Extra time and effort is required for meat seasonings, sauces and specialized cooking techniques. Vegetarians have gotten very good at shifting that special attention towards their vegetables and creating amazing meatless meals. For recipes that give special attention to vegetables, visit the Vegetarian Resource Group’s recipes page.  

My respect for the VRG combined with my admiration of the “hunter-gatherer” way of life got me thinking about the flexitarian diet. The Flexitarian diet has no precise or widely accepted definition. It is simply a title for decreasing meat consumption and increasing vegetable intake. Multiple medical studies have proven that too much meat can be harmful to our health. And studies of the American diet have revealed that the typical American eats too much meat. Is flexitarianism the solution?

Monday, May 7, 2012

'Feed the Turtle' A Glimpse at UMCP Dining Services

By: Angela A. Farris, MA

For three weeks I had the opportunity to rotate with the University of Maryland Dining Services operation. My partner and I were able to learn about a large scale food service operation in College Park, Maryland. We spent the bulk of our time at the South Campus Dining Hall, a hall catering to mostly upperclassmen, working in coordination with dining service staff to serve lunch, track inventory, observe and assist food delivery check-in, tour the bakery and provide an in-service presentation on Alpha Bac 10, a sanitizing agent.

In addition to working in the dining hall we had the chance to meet with several of the Dining Services Associate Directors to learn more about their role and their responsibilities within the organization. Conducting a dining services survey during the lunch hour in South Campus Dining Hall provided the experience of student interaction; one that was enjoyable and informative. We were able to collect 50 surveys about healthy choice dining.

Learning about dining services green initiatives was an exciting part of our time on campus. Touring the rooftop garden, the composting room, and reviewing all of the green initiatives on was informative and inspiring. Here are some other tidbits I learned about dining services:
  1. Nutrition analysis is available for all menu items sold in the South Campus dining room. Each item also has a description of any allergy that it may contain. These include symbols indicating a food is ‘peanut free’, ‘dairy free’, ‘gluten free’, and also for vegetarian or vegan.
  2. Dining services is supportive of sustainability and ‘green’ dining services. There is a page dedicated to each initiative that dining services participates in, for example: reusable carryout, energy and water conservation, and recycling.
  3. Dining services offers an extraordinary range of services, from fine dining to ‘to go’ shops to dining halls to catering. There is even a ‘goodies to go’ feature where students or faculty can take items to go for meetings or special events.
Check out UMCP dining services website for more information!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Family Meals -- What Does It Mean to You?

One issue identified, as being essential to promote a healthy diet, and conversely to fight obesity -- is families eating together.  This is so hard as everyone is always on the run -- as seen below.

At Baltimore's Baybrook Elementary School's after school program -- children read aloud a book entitled "Family Meals" as part of the Maryland SNAP-Ed Program.  This bilingual book (Spanish on one side and English on the other) highlights key messages and key ideas for eating with families and is fun to read. E.g. "loved and secure -- is how I feel -- each time we share -- a family meal" or "When I am at the table - I watch and listen to you.  My manners and habits are formed - by doing what you do".  Several copies of the book were used, and everyone got a chance to read a page.  Ms. Brown, our leader, also read the book a second time in Spanish with someone then reading the section in English with all children following the words and the pictures.  The activity was to make a fruit and veggie salad.  Initially when the idea of eating a salad was mentioned -- not everyone was excited, but once we all had roles in making the salad -- it became quiet and very busy.  Everyone worked hard to prepare our snack.

Once the salad was made - everyone ate it....And there were almost no leftovers.  From the book we all learned -- "New foods are a mystery, but seeing them again and again, I will touch, taste and reject some before I learn to like them".

Posted on behalf of Dottie Dietitian