Saturday, June 6, 2015

When Opportunity Knocks

As a young girl I remember my mother telling me 3 things-“eat your breakfast”, “do on to others as you would want them to do on to you”, and “never take advantage”.  As the days of the internship continue to pass I think of the lessons I learned from her often. I always eat my breakfast and I always apply the Golden Rule. However, living the life of an intern, “never take advantage” does not quite apply. During a dietetic internship, interns are presented with many opportunities within rotations to take full advantage. The past few weeks alone have been packed with several opportunities for my internship partner Rory and I to do just that…

·         IFIC: International Food Information Council, Washington, D.C., Technology Rotation-
My internship partner and I spent 3 weeks with IFIC, enjoying several opportunities related to the rotation. IFIC is a nonprofit organization that communicates science-based information about food safety and nutrition to professionals and the public. While working with IFIC we were able to take advantage of attending various conferences related to nutrition and public health. Our first week included attending the National Obesity Prevention Conference, while our last two weeks included the National Food Policy Conference and the National Frozen Food Conference.  While attending the National Food Policy Conference we were able to hear Tom Vilsack, Secretary US Department of Agriculture engage conference attendees as the Keynote Speaker. While at the National Frozen Food Conference we learned that frozen foods are a great choice for consumers packed full of nutrients; the food was pretty tasty too!

·         OSSE: Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington, D.C., Community Rotation-
Rory and I spent 1 week with OSSE during our school lunch rotation. Although short, it was very impactful. We learned first-hand the role of dietitians in overseeing, planning, and implementing school lunch programs.  We spent a day with Revolution Foods, a company that provides meals to several Washington, D.C. public and charter schools. We also had the chance to go back to school and participate in a school field trip with John Eaton Elementary! We visited historic Rockland Farms in Poolesville, MD. A farm-to-school grant enabled fourth grade students to visit the farm as they learn about farming, nutrition, and colonialism. While at the farm visitors learned about free range farming, planting and harvesting, composting, and the importance of rich soil for nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. What a great way to combine nutrition education with history curriculum!

·         IDF: Independent Dialysis Foundation, Glen Burnie, MD, Community Rotation-

I spent an amazing 3 days with IDF. Although short, I learned a great deal about medical nutrition therapy in renal care. Dietitians in renal care work closely with patients to educate them on how to transition to a renal diet; but, more importantly understanding what it means to their quality of life. While rotating with IDF I had the opportunity to attend a journal club presentation regarding “Patient Health Beliefs and Factors Associated with Adherence to Low-Phosphorus Diet.” The presenter, John Williams, MS, RD, LDN did an excellent job reviewing the research article, highlighting pertinent information regarding factors that influence or limit patient’s adherence to a low phosphorous diet.  The food was pretty impressive too!   

The opportunities available to take advantage of within the dietetic internship are too many to list in just one blog entry! Rest assured that each one is just as valuable and important as the next. Opportunities afforded to dietetic interns enhance the dietetic experience and offer insight as to how nutrition knowledge is applied in the real world. So remember to always eat your breakfast, apply the Golden Rule, and always take advantage! 

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