Michigan RD/RDNs in the News
Spotlight on the RD: Jennifer Fillenworth
List the top 10 things you've done in your career since graduating a mere, three years ago.
Time sure has flown by these past few years! Looking back on my short yet busy career so far I can easily think of 10 things that have left a lasting impression.
- Becoming a preceptor for dietetic interns. They are with you almost every second of your working life for months at a time. It’s great to see them learn and grow into the dietitian they would like to be. It's important to educate the future of the dietetics profession. They learn from you and you will learn from them in return.
- Being a part of a DI Selection Committee. It’s incredibly difficult to make those decisions, but also rewarding to see those that worked hard get matched.
- Gaining experience with mental health. Working in the psychiatric medical unit at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has taught me to be an advocate for anyone battling with mental health. It’s an underserved and underfunded area that can use support from everyone. I have been fortunate to be there for patients during their time of need.
- Continuing my education. I am currently finishing my Masters in Nutrition through Central Michigan University. The program continues to push me to learn more about the field of dietetics and the importance of continued research.
- Making connections with other health care professionals. Getting to know and work with different disciplines is crucial to success of a clinical dietitian. Learn all you can from physicians, nurses, pharmacy, social work, and other therapies. They will likely learn a lot from you as well. I have been seeing patients in conjunction with one of our speech therapists recently. We have learned a great deal from each other and I think it's creating a better experience for the patient.
- Getting involved with media for the hospital. It’s a lot of work, but it’s an absolute blast to do. It’s something that has opened a lot of doors for me and for that I am thankful.
- Blogging and working with GRNow.com. Working closely with the Grand Rapids food scene has been an incredible experience. I get to learn so much about everyone’s backgrounds and stories. I love making these connections and highlighting the community.
- Traveling to Banff for the 2016 Ketogenic Global Symposium. I traveled to this beautiful location to learn anything and everything about the ketogenic diet. I met people from all over the world. On my last day, I even went on a horseback ride through the Canadian Rockies. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
- Growing our ketogenic diet clinic. In one year we went from about 5 adult patients on the ketogenic diet to over 30! That’s a lot of educations, routine labs, and emails…but it’s absolutely worth it to see the benefits.
- Last but certainly not least. Befriending some of the most genuine, intelligent, and hardworking dietitians. I don’t know what it is, but Saint Mary’s has attracted some absolute rock star dietitians. Everyone that I have met has a different area of interest and approach with patients. It's important to have colleagues that you can learn from that will make you a better dietitian.
You've done an amazing job in the field of neurology. Tell us about your specific work with seizure patients.
I have been working with epilepsy patients on the ketogenic diet for a year now. During that time, our program has experienced rapid growth! We are currently completely booked until the Fall, but this shows that this diet works. I have heard almost every patient say their seizures have significantly declined in frequency or intensity. Some of these patients are even having their medications reduced. We often sit in a room reviewing their current diet and the ketogenic diet for hours to determine if this is a good fit. The most important thing that I can do for these patients is to make them feel like they are not missing out. I don’t want any of my patients to be upset about missing certain foods during the holidays or at birthday parties. Let’s face it, food is a social event. It’s more than just fuel for the body to most. I will research recipes and develop them to get the closet possible experience to the real deal. I think this helps with compliance to set them up for success. My ketogenic patients are all rock stars, too! I just helped plan and execute our first ketogenic diet conference at Mercy Health. I think the West Michigan community is fired up about it right now, which is very exciting for our entire clinic.
You won our National Nutrition Month social media contest with your amazing Instagram pics. What's your fav social media and why is it important for dietitians to be active in media socially and otherwise such as your WZZM segments?
My favorite social media outlet is definitely Instagram. I think a picture truly is worth a thousand words. It’s incredibly important to be real and transparent on social media. I think it helps the public realize that dietitians are regular people with good days and bad days! I like that dietitians are very active on social media and we all do things a little differently, which is fun to see. I like to emphasize shopping local for ingredients and I make a lot of plant based dishes. I think wherever my audience is on social media that they can relate to that. I’ve worked a lot with local news stations (WZZM and Fox 17) to develop healthy recipes and present them on air. I’ve received a lot of good feedback on these segments and it reaches a wide variety of people. It's important to grow a wide audience. I want to relate to anyone and everyone, I think social media and news segments help to achieve this.
What's next Jenn?
I think the future is bright right now. Expect me to stick around in the ketogenic world, but to pull away from other clinical areas. I’m looking forward to switching gears this year and moving more towards culinary nutrition by becoming a personal chef. I will also be completing my Masters in a few months, so teaching is in my future (hint hint). I’ve been watching my little entrepreneur gigs grow over the past few months. I’m excited to see where it takes me this year. I think there's something special about branching out and taking risks. It's absolutely terrifying, but worth it to follow your passions.
Michigan Academy Member Offered Item Writer Position
It is with great pleasure we would like to share that one of our Michigan Academy members, Sonia Govil, MS RD CNSC, was selected as an expert and offered a volunteer position with the Commission of Dietetic Registration (CDR) as an Exam Writer, popularly known as Item Writers. This position is offered after an extensive selection process involving essay writings, multiple rounds of interviews, etc.
Sonia attended an RD exam-writing workshop in Chicago in early November, drafting future RD exams. Great job, Sonia! We are very proud of you and good luck with future endeavors!
Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Award Recipients
Congratulations to Kate Geegan, MS, RDN and Lisa Sisson MM, RDN on receiving the Excellence in Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Award.
Kate is at the forefront of a movement to integrate nutrition guidance with agricultural health and sustainable food systems. Called "a global thought leader in her field" by Discovery Health of South Africa, she is the author of Go Green, Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low Carbon Footprint Diet (Rodale). As a speaker and consultant, her work has spanned 3 continents and 7 countries, including leading 2 international food-focused events through her partnership with Field to Plate LLC. Kate is one of a handful of registered dietitians serving on the Council of Directors of the True Health Initiative, an international coalition which includes Dr. Andrew Weil, Alice Waters, Deepak Chopra and other global food and health leaders. In 2013, Kate was named "One of the Top 10 RDs Making a Difference in the US" by Today's Dietitian Magazine.
Lisa is an Assistant Professor in the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department at Grand Valley State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Grand Valley she taught in the Hospitality Education and Culinary Arts programs at Grand Rapids Community College. Before joining the world of academia Lisa managed her consulting business, LG Sisson Associates, providing nutrition and dietary management consulting services to institutions throughout Michigan. She has extensive experience in nutrition and food service management and has authored numerous research articles, most recently, Local Food Innovation in a World of Wicked Problems: The Pitfalls and the Potential. She is an international speaker on food and nutrition issues and the founder and director of Heartside Gleaning Initiative whose mission is to empower the Heartside community to become healthier through increased access to healthy food and nutrition education.
Michigan Academy Member Receives Medallion Award
Barbara Jacobs Ivens, MS, RDN, FADA, FAND
The Michigan Academy is proud to announce that Barbara Ivens received the Medallion Award during on October 16, 2016 at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Boston.
The prestigious Medallion Awards are presented to registered dietitian nutritionists in recognition of outstanding service and leadership in the Academy and the dietetics profession. Barbara is one of only five Michigan Academy members who have received this award since it’s inception in 1976.
Barbara has held numerous positions within the then Grand Rapids Dietetic Association, the Michigan Academy and the Michigan Academy’s Institute. She has also been involved at the national level, being appointed and elected to such prominent roles as the 2011-2012 Chair of the Academy’s Foundation, 2000-2001 Chair of the Commission on Dietetic Registration, 1994-1996 Area Coordinator of the Dietitians in Business and Communications DPG, 2001-2006 revision chair of the Pediatric Nutrition DPG’s “Pediatric Nutrition Manual” and, since 2011, the Volunteer Coordinator of the Weight Management DPG. In 2015 she served as Chair of, and represented the Academy on, the Joint Food and Nutrition Science Solutions Task Force.
Barbara’s dedication to nutrition and dietetics is not exclusive to serving the Michigan and national Academy’s. Barbara has been a member of the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation Board for 15 years and in that time she has been a visionary leader who has used her innovative thinking to improve care of the smallest and most vulnerable patients in the hospital. It was through her efforts that the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital expanded the neonatal unit and later created The Gerber Foundation Neonatal Center. She also advocated for The Gerber Infant Nutrition and Development Center at the hospital.
Barbara has been serving as President of the Gerber Foundation since 1993 and has been active on their board since 1990. Each year the board reviews and approves 15 to 20 national grants including new researcher grants. Due to Barbara’s involvement all proposals submitted to the Foundation must indicate the inclusion of an RDN when needed.
Barbara J. Ivens is a tireless volunteer and an outstanding advocate for the profession. She’s accepted any challenge and has consistently promoted the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist as a critical partner in improving public health. Barbara exemplifies everything the Medallion Award stands for and the Michigan Academy proudly congratulates Barbara on receiving this well-deserved recognition.
Michigan Academy Member Receives Excellence in Practice Award
Alice Jo Rainville, PhD, RD, CHE, SNS, FAND
Dr. Alice Jo Rainville, Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at Eastern Michigan University, received the Academy’s 2016 Excellence in Practice Award in the area of research, at the 99th Annual FNCE. This award recognizes an outstanding registered dietitian who demonstrates innovation, creativity, and leadership in research.
Dr. Rainville is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a long-time member of the Academy's SNS DPG, and served as chair of the SNS DPG in 2014-2015. Dr. Rainville has been Instrumental in developing increased efficiency, productivity and effectiveness; Her research is focused on school nutrition programs and much of it is applied research. Since 1994, she has secured over $500,000 in external contracts and grants to fund a variety of research projects. The school nutrition research topics have included nutrients and foods in school lunches compared to lunches from home, effectiveness of classroom breakfast, recess before lunch, nutrition information at the point of selection in high schools, and the afterschool snack program. Additionally, Dr. Rainville has been recognized for teaching, educating and motivating students and professionals; leadership achievements in nutrition-related organizations; several peer-reviewed publications, presentations, and media topics; and several honors and awards for professional achievements.
In the News
- Jennifer Fillenworth, RD talks about the huge success the high fat, Atkins-style diet has made in reducing epileptic seizures in her patients by 50 percent. Watch Jennifer
- Kati Mora, RD teaches viewers how to make healthy breakfast eats in this kids hands-on, in the kitchen segment. Watch Kati.
- Amanda Gallaher, MPH, RD, is featured on the Kids Eat Right "Everyday Heroes" page for the month of August...check it out!
- Elizabeth Weber, Registered Dietitian, from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s teaches West Michigan viewers how to dine out on Valentine’s Day without the heart break. Check out her 6 key tips. Dining Out Without the Heart Break
- Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN, Director for the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Henry Ford Health System, educates Detroit Free Press Readers on how to fight lead absorption by eating smaller meals throughout the day. Fight Lead with Nutrition
- If you are a Michigan Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has been featured in the news or on camera, please send the link and your contact information to Director for PR and Media Relations, email@example.com.