Michigan RD/RDNs in the News
Spotlight on the RD: Colleen Christensen
What made you decide to pursue a career in dietetics?
Growing up I was always very athletic and loved to cook and bake. I also knew I didn’t want a typical “office job” so dietetics seemed like a natural choice!
What do you find most challenging and rewarding about your career as a dietitian?
In my opinion, one of the most challenging aspects of being a dietitian is hearing inaccurate information being spread about food and nutrition. It drives me bonkers! On the flip side, one of the most rewarding things is being able to dispel these myths that are potentially harmful and truly help people understand more about nutrition from a nutrition expert.
Before private practice, in what other areas of our field did you work in?
I started my career by working clinically in the field of metabolics and inborn errors of metabolism. It’s a fascinating field and I have been able to learn so much about rare genetic disorders to which dietary intervention itself is many times the treatment. It was a huge learning curve, as most of the diagnoses you treat are understudied due to their rarity. That also means you don’t get taught much about them in your schooling! I always said I didn’t want an easy job and metabolics is probably one of that farthest things from that! Currently, I am still working in this field today in addition to private practice.
Tell us more about your passion for ED Recovery community.
My passion for the treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating runs deep. I have personally recovered from a 6 year battle with an eating disorder and understand how hard the process of recovery is. Throughout my healing process I kept thinking how I just wanted to talk to someone who had been in my shoes, who could empathize. I actually never thought I would work with this population until a few years after achieving recovery. I knew that if I wanted to change the course of treatment and help others lessen their struggles then I would have to take steps to make that happen. So, I did by starting a private practice focusing on improving relationships with food and body through intuitive eating.
Work/Life balance is so important but can be tricky, what are your top 3 practices to keep the scales balanced?
One thing that is important to learn how to do is say “no”. If an opportunity arises that you don’t love or doesn’t help you achieve your goals, it’s okay to turn it down. This helps to avoid biting off more than you can chew! It’s also important to schedule free time. It’s easy to get sucked into working 24/7, especially today when we glorify being busy. By actually scheduling your down time like an appointment you’re more likely to give yourself the brain breaks you need! This also helps to avoid burnout, which is all too common. I’m also a believer in “brain dumps”. This is where you write down all of the things that are circling around in your brain- both work related and non! Getting your ideas out of your head really helps you to enjoy your free time by not having to constantly worry about forgetting to do “X” or call so-and-so.
In the News
- Check out Registered Dietitian and personal trainer, Tony Stephan, in his interviews on Fox 2 and in Women's Health Magazine
- See Michigan Registered Dietitian, Liz Weber in several segments:
- Check out Katie Francisco in Plant Based Diets: Part 2 of 4 Part Series and in her segments on National Peanut Day, National Taco Day
- See our very own, Bethany Thayer, Registered Dietitian, whip up some game day guacamole: Reducing your risk for prostate cancer
- 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.
Michigan Academy Members: If you or a colleague have received an award, please use our Contact page to send us information so that we can post it here.
Michigan Academy Members Receive National Honors at FNCE 2017 in Chicago!
Barbara Jacobs Ivens, MS, RDN, FADA, FAND
Jointly bestowed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the Trailblazer Award recognizes exceptional leaders who have advanced the science at the nexus of nutrition/dietetics and food science for at least five years. This award is conferred upon a leader who has demonstrated innovative contributions to improve health among underserved populations through a least one aspect of food science and technology, and has exhibited intellectual courage in research, instruction and/or communication at this intersection.
Barbara Ivens is Principal, Nutrition Information Exchange, located in West Michigan. She has served as the Chair of the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Fellow Panel Chair, Specialty Panel Chair, and as Chair of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation. She’s been a member of the Academy Recognition Task Force, Honors Committee, and Certification Collaboration Task Force. She served as Chair of, and represented the Academy on, the Joint Food and Nutrition Science Solutions Task Force. Other roles have included Michigan Academy Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Policies and Procedures and Publications Chair and Chair of the revision of the Pediatric dietetic practice group’s Pediatric Nutrition Manual.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Medallion Awards, given each year since 1976, honors Academy members who have shown dedication to the high standards of the nutrition and dietetics profession through active participation, leadership and devotion to serving others in dietetics and allied health fields. Several awards are given each year to those members whose dedication to the Academy and service to the profession serve as an example to all.
In recognition of:
- Her transformative ability to move the needle and push the dietetics profession towards excellence. She has used her passion for advocacy to educate countless government officials about the critical importance of nutrition and health, and used her insight to target organizational and policy gaps or opportunities to collaborate with existing Academy units to ensure stability and progress, anchored in documented strategic plans.
- Her outstanding leadership and service to the Academy, serving as a member of National Diabetes Partners, the Evidence Analysis Library Health Disparities work group, the Academy Foundation State Fundraising Task Force, and the liaison to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). She served as Chair of the Dietetics Practice Based Research Network Oversight Committee, Michigan Affiliate President, State Legislative Network Coordinator, Chair of the Diabetes Care and Education Practice Group, and has been appointed to over 10 National Academy committees.
- Her volunteerism, which has spanned the landscape of health, lending her expertise and influence to multiple organizations, namely the National Diabetes Education Program, American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association.
- Her determination for the success of the practicing dietitian. As an invited speaker and adjunct assistant instructor, she has championed evidence-based medical nutrition therapy education in multiple local and regional forums. She proposed, developed and facilitated the first webinar for NDEP and the first joint NDEP/Academy webinar through the Food and Culinary dietetic practice group. Through her radio and local television interviews, she has shared information to promote nutritional health for youth and adults.
Excellence in Practice: Dietetics Education
Lorraine J. Weatherspoon, PhD, RDN
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Excellence in Practice Awards recognize outstanding registered dietitian nutritionists and dietetic technicians, registered, who have demonstrated innovation, creativity and leadership in a specific area of practice. The awards are given in several practice categories, including Clinical Nutrition; Community Dietetics; Consultation and Business Practice; Dietetics Education; Dietetic Research; Dietetic Technician, Registered; and Management Practice, to honor Academy members who have demonstrated exceptional performance, contributed to the advancement of practice, and been effective and inspiring leaders in nutrition-related organizations.
Mary Abbott Hess Award
Staci Gerken, RD
This award recognizes an innovative food/culinary effort. Staci is the Nutrition Contract Administrator at the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan located in Grand Rapids and created the cooking class “Conquering the Kitchen”. The class is designed for male caregivers and provides both classroom and hands-on learning to help participants gain valuable skills that can decrease the stress related to food preparation and mealtime.