Well, Louisiana might not be full of healthy eaters, but I would like to think the dietitians that attended the annual Louisiana Dietetic Association meeting are. This past Tuesday and Wednesday, I was in Lafayette for the LDA Conference “Responding to the Challenge“.
The Monday before the conference, Gwen, Nate and I drove to Alexandria and stayed with Derrick. We had great bonding time as we drove an hour and a half back and forth. During the conference, I really enjoyed meeting new people, hanging out with my fellow interns and seeing some old faces, like fellow student dietitians from Diabetes Camp. Since the conference was in Lafayette, the dietetic interns from University of Louisiana @ Lafayette were there, so it was fun to see how they have been since July.
On the first day, there were two seminars that I really enjoyed. The first one was Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD, a dietitian that talked about sustainability. The presenter talked about the impact that environmental concerns and food sourcing trends have on how the public purchase foods and what foods they purchase, especially with fresh produce and meat products, like beef and chicken. She told us the truth about claims and benefits of local organic foods versus modern and conventional foods and how they are each different in the way nutrition gets to the consumers and the sustainability of each. She also gave a comparison about foods from the local, regional and national realm and their impact on the economy and nutrient composition. She made sustainability sounds interesting, and she was a very good speaker.
In-between some of the talks, we made two trips to Starbucks within probably 3 hours. haha We needed some caffeine.
The second lady that I liked was Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, a dietitian in the New Orleans area. She is a part of this awesome project where she has gone to local restaurants in NOLA and gotten their executive chefs to give her recipes of their dishes where she then does the nutritional analysis of them. Then they work together to develop either healthier options of the of the dishes, or even develop a whole new “Eat Fit” menu listing. I think this would be a cool thing to bring to Chicago. I believe that while Chicago people love their deep dish pizza and steak, they are also fairly active and enjoy eating healthy. Many restaurants I think would want to be a part of something like this. We learned about the criteria she uses to designate healthy menu items and gave us some strategies are working with local restaurant owners. This is something I could see myself doing. Nutrition AND eating out — sounds like a dream job!
After the conclusion of the first day, the four of us went to this Mexican restaurant called El Pasado. The food was good, except at the time we ate dinner, there was very little patrons in the restaurant, yet our service was somewhat slow.
On the second day, there was really only one speaker I enjoyed. She was a dietitian, Heidi Greenwaldt, MS, RD, LD, CNSC, that worked at a large hospital in Minnesota that has their dietitians placing tubes for tube feedings. In most hospitals, the nurses are the ones that place the tubes. At this hospital, the dietitians place the majority of tubes, and they are doing them well. In 2012, there were 454 tubes placed, and 414 of those were placed by dietitians. They get trained and have all the proper certifications. At first, I was scared about the idea of RDs placing tubes, but I feel that it is good that we learn how to do this as a profession. Because we care SO much about feeding patients, I think it is great if we could just place feeding tubes ourselves. That way we wouldn’t have to bug the doctors or the nurses. I thought it was interesting.
On the last day of the conference there was a business meeting where recipients of all of the various scholarships were recognized. I actually won a scholarship that was given by the Louisiana Dietetic Association. I was one of the recipients for a $500 dollar Graduate Studies Scholarship. My roommate Kelly was the other winner! I even got to meet the President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Ethan Bergman, PhD, RD, CD, FADA (who is from Seattle! Snaps for Ethan!) and the president of the Louisiana Dietetic Association, Bridgett Scott, MS, RD, LDN. And THEN, I won one of the raffle prizes, which was a Diabetes Education book. Granted, it was written in 2003, so it’s a little dated, but maybe it is a sign that I really am supposed to be a CDE (certified diabetes educator). It was exciting and I felt so important! I got a picture with the two of them, plus we also got a group picture with them at the end.
It was an exhausting couple of days, but it got me excited for this next chapter in my life. This is only the first half of my busy week. I will soon tell you about the second half.