Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Turning classrooms into cafeterias to boost learning

Blog Post 2
Gallimore, E. (2016). Turning classrooms into cafeterias to boost learning. Newswire. Retrieved from

            As many as 30,000 schools in Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah have been awarded a grant totaling $7.5 million to take breakfast out of the cafeteria and bring it into the classroom. Breakfast in the Classroom is a program that is associated with the School Breakfast Program which provides funding to states that operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare organizations.
            It is known that breakfast can improve school academics, yet some students who qualify for the School Breakfast Program do not participate in it.  Research has shown that students are self conscious to eat breakfast in the cafeteria because of the stigma that “only poor kids do that.” Additionally, many students do not have enough time or are too busy with before school activities to eat in the morning.  Therefore, providing breakfast to students in the classroom can eliminate the stigma and time constraints associated with low breakfast participation rates.  The Walmart foundation has provided funding to schools in now seven new states throughout the U.S. to implement the Breakfast in the Classroom Program. 


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Building a Multicultural Team

            The United States is a multicultural nation.  The healthcare industry is realizing that, because America is such a diverse country, it must focus on building a multicultural healthcare team to improve care for patients from different countries as well as various ethnic and racial groups.  A multicultural team encompasses physicians, nurses, dietitians, and allied health care professionals who are fluent in other languages.  These providers can assist with interpreting as well as adopting cultural customs and traditions.  This is an important policy to improve; lack of proper communication between health care provider and patient may lead to adverse effects on quality of care.
            A study published in May of 2002 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute addresses how outreach programs can have a positive effect on North American Chinese women, a group of individuals who are less likely to undergo routine Pap exams.  The study suggests how these outreach interventions, which are culturally and linguistically appropriate, are an effective method for expanding the amount of cervical screenings within this subgroup.  Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) implemented a language assistance program provides patients access to interpreters during physician appointments as well as translators to assist in translating specific documents.  Fostering a multicultural health care team will promote productivity, maintain Joint Commission standards, assure patient safety, and provides a more patient-centered approach to care.
            Dietitians who know various languages and who are culturally diverse and sensitive play a significant role in patient care.  Food and culture are interrelated.  Dietitians communicate with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.  Health care providers need to understand cultural and ethnic practices including understanding kosher law, halal foods, strict vegan diets, religious beliefs about eating certain animals like cows or pork and etc.
Tempest, M. (2012, July). Building a multicultural team. Today’s Dietitian, (14)7, 36.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Workplace Wellness - Companies Make Employee Health Their Business

Employers are putting a special emphasis on workplace wellness; they recognize the importance of promoting a healthier lifestyle for their employees.  Towers Perrin’s annual Health Care Cost Survey reports employers will pay about 6% more per employee for the year, an estimate of about $9,144.  Employers now are finding that promoting corporate wellness programs focuses on keeping employees healthier as well as the cost of health care down.  The emphasis in healthcare previously was on treatment of acute illnesses, however, there is currently a shift towards prevention.  This is a result of many chronic illnesses influenced by lifestyle management including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  While workplace wellness will help keep healthcare costs down, they also encourage retention of employees as well as improving productivity.
Corporate wellness programs are not necessarily a new idea; however, employers are now realizing how prevention may possibly be the key to reduce cost of their employee healthcare.  American Specialty Health (ASH) Incorporated offers health coaching, fitness, weight management, and other health improvement programs.  Other companies are following the latest corporate wellness trends including AstraZeneca with their own spin on “The Biggest Loser” and WhiteWave Foods motivates their employees by offering free on-site yoga classes.  The Cleveland Clinic, through their wellness program, focuses on weight management, physical activity, and stress management.
In addition, the Cleveland Clinic implemented a program a policy where they will no longer hire employees who smoke.  Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, the clinic’s wellness manager states “This is a strong move on our part, but we really want to be the leaders with wellness.  We don’t see that we can be the leaders unless we enforce something like this. It’s also really important to us that our employees that are currently here that smoke get into a tobacco treatment program so we can help them to quit smoking, and it’s important to us that we begin to eliminate the smokers on our employee roster as well.”  The Cleveland Clinic aims to eliminate any type of barrier in order for their employees to get active, eat healthier, and work with stress management.
Schaeffer, J. (2008, July). Workplace wellness — companies make employee health their business. Today’s Dietitian, (10)7, 34.

Growing and Managing Online Communities

In the 2016, September edition of the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Tony Peregrin writes about the growth and expansion of online communities.  With social media use increasing from 8% in 2005 to 72% now, it is important for registered dietitian nutritionists to use this platform to broadcast nutrition information to online communities.  Social media is a great method to reach out to people and build a following.  Online communities are present in a variety of networking sites including Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even smart-phone applications.

Social media can be an important tool for clinicians and health care providers to deliver accurate information to community members about treatment, diagnosis, nutrition information, and etc.  The majority of people research health related question on the internet, which is not always the most reliable method due to non-accredited sources.  Another benefit for clinicians using social media accounts is to stay up-to-date with new research.  Social media provides a place to post the latest findings; for example, Twitter and Facebook can be used by Medline to share articles of recent scientific research.  Online communities are rapidly growing; today’s culture involves reaching people through a screen.  Health care providers and other organizations should manage their online communities and social media accounts to deliver accurate and resourceful information to their following.

Management of online communities is especially important for dietitians to foster.  The science of nutrition is constantly changing and there are a lot of self-proclaimed “nutritionists” trying to dupe people into thinking trendy diets are the best method to weight loss.  These “diets” could also be potentially dangerous and there is no evidence based research to corroborate their statements.  Registered dietitian nutritionist can use social media platforms to provide safe and effective interventions for people as well as debunking nutrition myths and educating metabolically why these diets do not work.

Peregrin, T. (2015). Best Practices for Growing and Managing Online Communities. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Fitzpatrick, T. (2016, October). Making farm-to-school work on the menu. Food Management. Retrieved from

            This article presented in Food Management magazine highlights the trend of farm-to-school and one school foodservice director’s program to create a healthier school environment. Allyson Mrachek is the director for child nutrition for Fayetteville Public Schools in Arkansas and oversees 14 schools within her district. She discusses the basic steps needed to begin a farm-to-school program, such as training kitchen staff on preparing whole foods and establishing relationships with local farmers.  One trend her district has adopted is Meatless Mondays, stating that this meal can be fun, healthy, and more indulgent.  One example of a meatless Monday lunch that she serves is cheese fries with a kale salad. She also discusses her competition for lunch participation- packed lunches. In effort to increase participation, she adapted recipes from students’ favorite restaurants, such as chicken Alfredo pasta form Olive Garden and chicken teriyaki from Chick-fil-A to meet the NSLP nutritional guidelines.  Mrachek has also done test testing with the students to determine which food items need to be tweaked and which should not be put on the menu. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RD Makeover- Breaking Away From Traditional Dietetic Roles

This article discusses the some of the different career paths for registered dietitians.  The article brought up the title Regulatory Performance Director, RD as one of the newer career paths at the time of this publication, which deals the hospital compliance with the Joint Commission.  April Rudat explains   that registered dietitian Kessey Kieselhorst was a clinical nutrition manager who became the Director of regulatory performance at a medical center in Pennsylvania.  Kieselhorst made many moves to get this position including the vice president of the department and went through a total of 16 interviews before getting the job offer.  Only registered nurses had this position in the past and she met every qualification for the position with the exception of a nursing degree.  She is now responsible for three hospitals, 40 community practice sites, two ambulatory surgery centers, and one drug/alcohol facility.

 It took a lot of guts for Kieselhorst to even apply for that job.  It seems there is often conflict between registered nurse and registered dietitian’s roles in the workplace.  This article does a great job showing that with the right experience, leadership ability, and determination, dietitians can move up past clinical nutrition managers and are qualified in some aspects of job performance as nurses.  I would have liked to see if there was a difference in the amount of interviews a RN typically went through for this position compared to Kieselhorst.  Nonetheless, her success will hopefully spark the awareness that dietitians can work in high managerial roles; it just takes a little persistence. 

Rudat, A.  (2018). "RD Makeover- Breaking Away From Traditional Dietetic Roles." Todays Dietitian 10(5):50. Retrieved from

Monday, October 17, 2016

Planning for Fiscal Year- Retail Dietitians

For dietitians in the management role, budgets are most likely going to be a part of their responsibilities.  The article, “Planning for Fiscal Year 2017: Planning and budgeting is step 2,” by Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND, looks at retail dietitians in the budgeting and planning process.  There are four key points noted in the article- programs and services, marketing, operations, and budget.  Programs and services involve looking at already successful programs (both those being currently used and any to be initiated) and “justifying how they will fit within your corporate goals and objectives.”  More specifically, being able to explain the financial justification of the program.   Marketing focuses on how these programs will be marketed in order to be successful. This takes into consideration the target audience and the “unique” value of that program as well as what your program offers in comparison to another company.  Determine operational needs, such as extra staff and any resources needed from other departments.  The fourth step is budget, which requires consideration of projected revenue versus expenses.   The article suggests first reviewing costs from previous years and then “identify changes” to help determine the new year’s cost

This article was a very useful resource for what to keep in mind when creating a budget.  I think that many new dietitians are intimidated by this responsibility, so it was nice to see a step-by-step explanation.  Marketing is the step that did not come to mind when thinking about having to create a budget.   Having this step makes sense because you must be able to have an exact plan of how that program you are justifying will be successful, which typically involves an increase in participants.  The biggest concept I take away from this article is the importance of evidence and a plan to defend and justify a program.  Always look to improve programs because if you can’t explain the necessity and/or benefit with proof, numbers, and a plan, then they may not be approved.


Maggi, A.  (2016). "Planning for fiscal year 2017: Planning and budgeting is step 2." Retail Dietitians Business Alliance. Retrieved from