Highlighting Our Incredible VAND Members!
Interviewed by: Kristen Chang MS, RDN, CSSD
What is your current position of employment? I worked for Mountain Empire PACE in Big Stone Gap, VA for 2.5 years and have been in my current position at AllCare PACE in Cedar Bluff for roughly 6 months. PACE is a community-based program that allows seniors who are eligible for long term care services to remain safely in their home with all-inclusive services and support. My main role is to assess the nutritional needs of the elderly and develop individual plans of care to maintain health and well-being. In doing so, I work a lot with malnutrition and chronic disease management while connecting clients with resources to support their health and assessing their need for supplemental nutrition. I tend to work with the poorest of the poor and frailest of the frail and feel like my work is very valuable and restorative for my clients – it’s really neat to track their progress and see how my nutritional interventions can have such a widespread impact on their life.
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, and completed my dietetic internship at Virginia Tech. I also own a small business, The Local Mercantile, in Lebanon, VA that serves locally roasted coffee and highlights products from local farmers, artists, and craftsman in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee.
What inspired you to join the field of dietetics? Farming and gardening were a considerable part of my upbringing. Both of my grandparents owned small family farms in Russell, Virginia and I spent a considerable amount of time helping out as a child. This was where the foundation for my interest in nutrition was laid. I saw the importance of how soil nourishes the plant, and the plant in return nourishes the body. The connection between human, plant, animal, and soil nutrition were undeniable. Additionally, I have always been interested in science and thus nutrition and dietetics seemed like a natural fit for me.
What is the best thing about being a part of VAND? I enjoy staying connected with nutrition professionals that work in different capacities around state. It unifies us as a profession and the annual meeting is a fun time to catch up with classmates and instructors. I have really enjoyed the VAND Member Spotlight series and how it highlights the unique works of our members.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work? I enjoy visiting new restaurants and businesses in the area, especially the wide array of farm-to-table restaurants that are available in southwest Virginia. I also enjoy cooking, volunteering with our local church, and having fun with the people I love.
Tell us something surprising about yourself. I joined a CrossFit gym last June and haven’t looked back. It’s been a fun and challenging experience. The coaches and gym community are top notch. It’s something that I would have never expected myself to be doing, but it’s been one of the best experiences of my life as I really have benefited from the camaraderie, community, and the expertise of the coaches I work with. It’s been motivating to track my improvement and gains over the past year while staying active.
What has been your most exciting event during 2019? This year alone has been fast and furious and I haven’t thought much about 2020. My husband and I have tossed around a few exciting vacation plans. We love to fish, so maybe a fishing trip to Alaska, and are also dreaming about building a house on my family’s farm.
Congratulations to Lindsey for being such an important part of our profession!