Want to know how I learned so much about nutrition and health? It all started with my thorough education on the topics, which continues today.
A BS in Dietetics
I completed my undergraduate studies at Keene State College (Keene, NH). KSC is a very small college which meant lots of accountability – very few multiple choice tests and ample opportunities for me to flex my writing muscle. While I knew I could never be a doctor (blood + me = fainting), health science fascinated me and I had a natural affinity for the information. I graduated in four years with a bachelor of science degree (Dietetics), a GPA of 3.96, and several awards under my belt (KSC Outstanding Freshman, KSC Outstanding Senior Service Award).
Dietetic Internship/Graduate Studies
I was then accepted into the highly competitive Hines VA Dietetic Internship program (Hines, IL). So, I packed up my things and headed west for nine months of intense, hospital-based training on all areas of nutrition. As part of that program, I completed 8 credits of graduate coursework in Research Methodology and Advanced Clinical Nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an independent research project on BMI as an assessment tool. I then passed the dietitian registration examination, therefore earning the right to call myself an R.D. (Registered Dietitian), which is now known as RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)*.
Graduate Degree in Integrative Healing
In July 2012, I completed a master’s degree in Experiential Health & Healing (Integrative Health) through The Graduate Institute (Bethany, CT). The program provided a rich perspective on the path to optimal health with emphasis on the whole person – mind, body and spirit. The degree enriched my life tremendously and provided a new perspective to my health writing. As my culminating project I developed a natural healing website: www.HappyHealthyHer.com. I was also honored to write and deliver a commencement speech.
In order to maintain my credentials as a Registered Dietitian, I complete 75 credits of continuing education every 5 years. In addition, my love of the Internet and effective communications has led me to pursue courses in Grant Proposal Writing, HTML, DreamWeaver, Web Marketing, Adobe Applications, and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Likewise, I read a host of marketing newsletters and writing resources to stay on top of my game.
*What is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (R.D.N)?
Registered Dietitians (also called Registered Dietitian Nutritionists) possess a minimum of 4-5 years of nutrition education, combined with comprehensive testing, and ongoing continuing education. This rigorous training insures that anyone using the RD (RDN) credential is extremely qualified in the fields of food and nutrition.
Don’t be fooled by the term “Nutritionist.” While many nutritionists are very knowledgeable, virtually anyone can claim the title. Many doctors also don’t have much business calling themselves “Nutrition Experts,” since their training in nutrition is often limited to just a few courses. To learn more visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.