Leah McGrath, RD, LDN; Leia Flure, MS, RD, LDN; Kim Melton, RD; Lucía de Rueda Aramburu, RD, MSc.; Matt Jacobs, MA, RD, LD, NSCA-CPT and Sophie Medlin, RD

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BUILD UP DIETITIANS

for something nutrishus

I know of the work Build up Dietitians (BUD) does due to their presence on Facebook. They are "a community of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, Nutrition students/dietetic interns (RD2B) & nutrition professionals w/Integrity...[they] #stand4science - not sensationalism. [they] recognize that nutrition and agriculture are seldom a black vs white or good vs bad issues and refrain from portraying food in this way or promoting fad diets."  They are also the largest team to be included in the series so far. BUD includes Leah McGrath (founder and administrator), Kim Melton, Leia Flure, Lucía De Rueda Aramburu, Matt Jacobs, and Sophie Medlin. Find out more about this passionate group in their individual responses below. 

 Leah McGrath, RD, LDN

Leah McGrath, RD, LDN

 

Leah McGrath, RD, LDN

I started BUD in 2014 at a time when it felt like there was a lot of negativity and criticism about dietitians. I regularly saw groups/social media accounts and pages, individuals and the media accusing dietitians of lacking integrity. Having been a dietitian for almost two decades at that point I knew that our profession deserved better treatment and a more positive space to encourage each other and celebrate our accomplishments. The page is followed by dietitians, nutrition students, DTR’s from around the world!  In 2017, when the number of followers passed 25,000, I reached out to some dietitians that were pretty visible on our page to see if they would like to help out with content and administration of the page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Leia Flure, MS, RD, LDNW

Leia Flure, MS, RD, LDNW

Leia Flure, MS, RD, LDN

Why did you become a RD?

I pursued dietetics as a career after losing a significant amount of weight during college. I ate less and moved more – nothing drastic -- as we so often advise clients. I knew that if I could do it, I wanted to help others do the same. I was already in the process of finishing up my undergraduate program in psychology and thought that it would be a great complement to nutrition, so I went for it. Luckily, I’ve always liked physical science, so I wasn’t derailed by all the chemistry!

What area of dietetics do you work in?

School Nutrition/Cooperative Extension

How would you explain what you do?

I translate scientific research into information that is easily understandable by the lay public and immediately applicable to daily life.

What are your ‘typical’ day/weekly tasks?

Every day is a little bit different, but usually includes a combination of posting to social media, reviewing and developing content for our online course portal, designing marketing materials, and coordinating the creation of videos highlighting school nutrition successes in Illinois.

What has been your career path?

My first job after my internship was working as an Extension Educator. I facilitated in-person workshops in four counties on diverse topics like food safety, food preservation, healthy cooking, chronic disease management, and controversial issues like artificial sweeteners, GMOs, fad diets, and more. I wrote a column for the newspaper twice per month and appeared weekly for TV segments on our CBS station. For a short while after that I taught undergraduate Agricultural Communications courses and I also worked as an outpatient oncology dietitian. In retrospect, the common thread in all of these is my passion for addressing (and correcting) the nutrition misinformation that is so ubiquitous and can unnecessarily stress people out.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have a master’s degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have also completed both the Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates of Training in Adult Weight Management through CDR.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

This is such a broad question! I would love to see more RDs standing for science and actively combating misinformation in the media. As a start, it would be great for DPD (Didactic Program in Dietetics) programs to become more consistent in their course rigor, especially in regards to research and media communication skills. I also think that as a profession, we need to have more conversations about the role of industry in research, sponsorship, and partnerships. In an ideal world, we would have unlimited funds from scientific institutions like NIH (National Institutes of Health), but that’s just not possible. We need to find middle ground on collaborating with industry rather than writing it off as an option from the get go. 

What are you passionate about in dietetics? Why is being part of the BUD team important to you?

I love being involved with BUD! I learn so much from our followers who comment on articles and share their professional experiences, which often helps me look at issues through different lenses. I benefit personally from BUD in this respect, but I also love connecting followers with solid, research-based information and “building up” dietitians’ abilities to critically evaluate science reporting in the media and incorporate it into their practice.

What misinformation about RDs would you like to clear up?

We are just normal people (at least, most of us are!). I love to eat all kinds of food and thoroughly enjoy my pizza and cake. I don’t judge anyone for struggling to eat vegetables because even I have to make a conscious effort to get enough! 

 

 Kim Melton, RD

Kim Melton, RD

Kim Melton, RD

Why did you become a RD?

I became an RD because I have always been interested in the biochemistry and the science behind how food functions in our bodies.  Working with people and helping them understand the importance of good nutrition for health via writing, one on one or public speaking is my passion. 

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I do a variety of things as a consultant dietitian - I am currently working in public health with some of the victims of the Flint water crisis as well as consulting for a product development company.  I also enjoy freelance and blog writing. 

What are your ‘typical’ day/weekly tasks?

I typically see clients two days a week. On the other days I am either writing or communicating with associates relating to my other opportunities.  By 3 pm every day, I pick up my kids and will do some social media tasking in the evenings depending on what else is in my schedule. I have done farm tours and allow time for some travel experiences every so often when they arise.

What has been your career path?

I started out in clinical working in oncology, ICU, dialysis, and cardiac care.  I took several years off to raise my children and saw private clients on occasion.  Within the last 4 years I started NutritionPro Consulting which led me down a path of learning more about agriculture, how our food is grown and its impact on health.  Having a website has also provided other opportunities for public speaking, learning and working with clients.  As my children get older, I look forward to pouring more time into these opportunities.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

I have been an RD since 1993 and have seen our profession evolve over the past several years and the future looks very bright for us.  I would like to see more RDs become involved in media and become known as THE nutrition experts for all things relating to food.  I also would love to see many more RDs become educated about agriculture and be a voice of truth against a tide a fear mongering that has become so prevalent.  These are some of the reasons I enjoy being involved in Build Up Dietitians. 

What would you like people to know about RDs?

I would like for people to understand that the extensive training we undergo which makes us especially qualified to evaluate all aspects of nutrition.  Because of this, we are the experts in health and how food fits into the overall picture. This is also why we don’t adopt fads but scientifically proven practices  This is what I am most passionate about in our profession.  Evaluating research and communicating the most evidence based information to fight the myths and misinformation that permeates media and confuses the public. 

What are you passionate about in dietetics? Why is being part of the BUD team important to you?

This role allows us as administrators to have a platform for truthful, science based information not only for RDs and other health professionals but the general public who follow the page or on social media. There are so many in the health/nutrition space spreading fear and false messages that we need to have our voices heard to counteract this and educate our audience. BUD continues to expand under Leah’s leadership, not only nationwide but around the world and it’s exciting to be a part of it. I am very grateful for the opportunity.

 

 Lucía de Rueda Aramburu, RD, MSc.

Lucía de Rueda Aramburu, RD, MSc.

Lucía de Rueda Aramburu, RD, MSc.

Why did you become a RD?

I have always been interested in science, especially medicine and all throughout school I worked towards that goal. However, the more I learnt about nutrition the more interested I became in dietetics so becoming a dietitian felt like the natural step forward.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I used to work in the UK as a clinical dietitian in a public hospital but since moving back to Spain I opened a private practice (mainly treating obesity, diabetes and IBS) as in Spain we currently don’t employ dietitians in primary care.

How would you explain what you do?

I meet with patients regularly and offer a personalised service that doesn’t necessarily focus only on diet but their entire lifestyle: sleeping habits, exercise, daily routines, etc. My job with BUD is to expand their message to Spanish speakers and to help to promote not only evidence based nutrition but also dietetics as a service in general.

What are your ‘typical’ day/weekly tasks?

As I adapt to our patient’s schedules, every day is a bit different. I would usually see a few patients every day in my office and use the time in-between patients to write our blog and other admin tasks. Our patients also contact me via email or Whatsaap asking questions. Although being at the other end of a phone at every patient’s whim consumes a lot of time it has been a major selling point for service and patients feel very supported. I also try to leave a day free every other week to keep up with the latest on nutrition, as working alone means that I can’t bounce ideas to other dietitians so it is easy to fall out of the loop.

What has been your career path?

I started working in a pharmacy as a dietitian but I was pressured to sell products as opposed to help people with their diets so eventually quit and decided to do an MSc in England, where it seemed dietitians were taken more seriously (best decision ever!). After my MSc I did some internships whilst getting my accreditation and worked in various hospital as a RD for a few years. Two years ago I decided to move back to Spain and open my own dietetic clinic.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have an MSc in Public Health Nutrition and have attended various courses on several nutrition related topics such as motivational interviewing, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), gluten sensitivity, nutrition in the brain injured patient, etc.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

Hopefully dietitians will be working in hospitals the same way they do in the UK so nutrition support will be available for everyone and not only those who can afford it.

What are challenges you encounter as a RD?

In Spain there is no dietetics service in public hospitals so most of my patients have spent several years reading misinformation and pseudoscience on the internet and come to the consultation with preconceived ideas and food fears. Overcoming these fears and beliefs is the biggest challenge as I am obliged to spend a lot of time debunking myths as opposed to actually treating the patient's condition.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? Why is being part of the BUD team important to you?

I really like the way BUD cuts through myths and misinformation. This is extremely necessary in Spain as “nutrition gurus” monopolise any nutrition stories that appear on media. BUD provides a regular source of evidence based nutrition information with a pinch of humour (sometimes we take ourselves a bit too seriously) and it is perfect to keep up to date with nutrition related news written in a way that is ideal for both dietitians and the general public. A Facebook page that promotes evidence based nutrition is desperately needed here [in Spain] but sadly no such page exists. 

What is your favourite meal?

It may sound cliché but I do really enjoy eating healthy food and Spain is a great country to eat fruits and veg. Nearly everything grows here! I have a great chickpea and pumpkin stew recipe that is a favourite not only with me but also my patients.

 

 Matt Jacobs, MA, RD, LD, NSCA-CPT

Matt Jacobs, MA, RD, LD, NSCA-CPT

Matt Jacobs, MA, RD, LD, NSCA-CPT

What area of dietetics do you work in?

Matt: Primary role is in outpatient counseling in primary care. Also spend some time in fitness training and private sports nutrition consulting. 

How would you explain what you do?

I tell people I talk to old guys about food. When I tell people I am a dietitian, they usually think I just make diets for people. That is, if they have even heard the word dietitian before. Those with little experience with the medical professions usually say “what’s that?”.

What are your ‘typical’ day/weekly tasks?

Teaching weight management classes and conducting individual nutritional counseling with a couple meetings every now and then.

What has been your career path?

Bariatrics, public health, outpatient counseling with some personal fitness training sprinkled in all along.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

Masters degree in dietetics and bachelor of science in health and exercise science, both from the University of Oklahoma. Certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and certified in adult weight management,

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

More guyatitians!

What are you passionate about in dietetics? Why is being part of the BUD team important to you?

I inquired about getting involved with BUD because I liked the humorous side of the page. The dietitian profession needs to laugh at itself every now and then and I try to help with that. I also thought it would be good way to spread to fitness and sports nutrition information to a large audience. 

What makes RDs unique/different from other nutrition/wellness professionals?

RD’s are different from other nutrition and wellness professionals because we are trained to elicit behavior change based on scientific evidence. We can impact all phases of life from a failure to thrive infant, to preventing health conditions at an early age or improving quality of life at the end stage. 

 

 Sophie Medlin, RD

Sophie Medlin, RD

Sophie Medlin, RD

Why did you become a RD?

I was very lucky to know from the age of 15 that I wanted to be a dietitian. I was struggling at school and not getting very good grades, but when I realised what I wanted to do for my career I was able to focus and get the grades I needed to study dietetics.

What area of dietetics do you work in?

I specialised in intestinal failure and bowel surgery in my clinical work and now I lecture (assistant professor at King’s College London) and research, run a private practice and do work within the media promoting evidence based nutrition and speaking out against fad diets.

How would you explain what you do?

I look after the nutritional needs of people with medical problems and treat medical problems with diet. I also lecture and research in nutrition and the dietary management of surgical patients.

What are your ‘typical’ day/weekly tasks?

I have clinics in a private practice in London one evening and one weekend day per week. During term time I am lecturing to undergraduate and postgraduate students about the nutritional management of disease and I undertake and supervise research in my area of interest. I often write articles and appear on national radio talking about dietary fads and current topics of interest in nutrition.

What has been your career path?

In the UK, dietitians typically begin their career working in acute hospitals for the National Health Service. I worked initially in elderly medicine before changing hospitals and working in head and neck cancer and intestinal failure. I then moved to intestinal failure and colorectal surgery, writing some guidance documents and papers which enabled me to move into academia and later research and academia.

What advanced education or special training do you have?

I have postgraduate qualifications in advanced dietetic practice and a teaching qualification in academic practice.

In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?

In the UK we need to work hard to increase the profile of dietitians and promote our role as the most credible nutrition professionals. For many years, we had the luxury of having our tuition fees paid but this was recently stopped due to government cut backs and so it is imperative that we improve the public’s awareness of dietetics as a profession so that we continue to attract excellent students and keep the number of graduates high.

What are you passionate about in dietetics? Why is being part of the BUD team important to you?

Because of the issues mentioned above with dietetics in the UK and because we are still a relatively small and under recognised profession, it is great to have the opportunity to promote dietetics on an international platform and to learn from the exciting work of dietitians in other countries.

 

More about the BUD team:

Facebook: Build Up Dietitians

Twitter: @BuildUpRDNs

Leah McGrath: Twitter: @LeahMcGrathRD

Lucía de Rueda Aramburu: Twitter: @DieteticodRB

Kim Melton: Website: NutritionPro Consulting; Twitter: @NutritionPro_1

Leia Flure: Facebook: Moderation Maven Nutrition; Instagram: @moderationmaven; Twitter: @moderationmaven

Matt Jacobs: Website: Ignite Nutrition and Fitness; Twitter: @OKCsportsRD; Facebook: Ignite Nutrition and Fitness

Sophie Medlin: Facebook: Sophie Dietitian; Instagram: @sophie_dietitian; Twitter:

 

Thanks to Leah, Lucia, Kim, Sophie, Matt & Leia – the team at Build Up Dietitians!