Thursday, October 29, 2015

Experience It: Food and Friends Joint Class Day

I am currently at my information technology rotation in my internship. This part of the rotation is held at IFIC (International Food Information Council). For our first Joint Class day, myself and three of my fellow dietetic interns went to Food and Friends. I had never heard of this organization before coming to my dietetic internship and from what I heard during my internship, I thought it was just a food bank. However, it is more than just your typical ‘food bank’. It distributes specified diet order friendly meals to the DC area. From soft puree to heart healthy, Food and Friends has it. This is a great service and I was happy to learn more about it.

At this great location gathered dietetic interns from two other programs with ours (University of Maryland- Medical Center, & Virginia Tech). Each program was diverse and brilliant in their own right. I met people from both and discovered another side to dietetic internships I hadn’t been exposed to before. I learned that the two dietetic internships had different concentrations -- Virginia Tech’s was leadership while University of Maryland-Medical Center’s was clinical. They had two perspectives that were valuable resources.

After the introductions for the day, we were divided into two groups. My group volunteered in the kitchen first where we put the meals into bags to go out for distribution. Food and Friends had a color coded system for their diet items. There was heart healthy, no fish, vegetarian, diabetic, and soft; just to name a few. They also provided numerous combinations of diets, which was a really nice service. During this time, I was able to learn a lot about the other programs. After we were done packing all the food away, we put stickers on bags and helped them put away the supplies.

We broke for lunch after a small budgeting exercise where we networked with other interns. We had a workshop on strength based leadership which brought a lot of positive response from me. I love psychology and often think about the mindset behind our food choices. This was along the same lines on how to be the best leader you could be with your skill sets. Some dietetic interns were more analytic than creative or more organized than communicative. These qualities do not make you a bad leader, it makes you a different type of leader and that is okay. I concluded that I may be a dietetic intern with an unconventional background but my skill sets are needed in my dietetic internship. I bring something to the table that no one else will.

Our group sat through three lectures, each of them interesting. The first was a lecture on nutrition and HIV which was incredibly informative about the prevalence of the virus in the Washington DC area. There was a motivational interview section where we got to see the different perspectives of the dietetic interns since they tend to focus on different things during their interviews. Some interviews were clinical while others focused in on the emotional well-being of the client. The final topic was food justice and poverty in the DC area. This was eye-opening and shocking since many wards are food deserts. I hope that my contribution to the DC community through Food and Friends has helped make change.

After that, there were some closing remarks and then we were released into the world again equipped with new knowledge. Overall, it was a fun class day where I made new friends and learned many things that I could use for my future as an RD. I am looking forward to the next joint class day!

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