Highlighting Our Incredible VAND Members!
Teresa Lucas, DTR
Professional Position: Operations Specialist, Loudon County Public Schools – School Nutrition Services
Current Volunteer Position: President, Northern Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NVAND)
Interviewed by Bernice Akinbileje, MA, RD, CTC
As the School Nutrition Association (SNA) celebrates National School Lunch Week (October 10-14, 2016), the VAND Spotlight shines on Teresa Lucas, DTR, who is a dedicated dietetics professional that is excited about her career with School Nutrition Services. As President of NVAND, Teresa has some ideas simmering on the burner for this year, and is looking forward to a hefty yield in 2017.
Tell us about yourself. I am a native of Thomasville, North Carolina (near High Point and Lexington). My family moved to Northern Virginia as a result of my husband’s job transfer to Reston, Virginia. I received my AAS degree in Dietetics from Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), earned my BS degree in Home Economics Education from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) University, and earned credits toward a MS degree in State Nutrition and Institutional Management from East Carolina University (degree not completed). In 2012, VAND selected me as its Recognized Dietetic Technician of the Year. Currently I am a member of AND, the Dietetics Practice Group for School Nutrition, and the SNA. Being involved in the SNA, as well as AND, equips me with the knowledge and perspective I need to provide students with food programs of the highest quality.
How did you get started in your career? Throughout my career I have worked in various settings including clinical, child nutrition, and school nutrition. One of my earliest and most rewarding dietetics experiences was with the federal WIC Program. I enjoyed working with families and discussing their concerns and questions about health, food, and nutrition. I worked one-on-one with families to support their various needs.
Why did you become a DTR? After graduating from NVCC with an AAS degree in Dietetics, I learned that I was qualified to become a DTR through AND.
Why did you choose to become involved, and stay involved, with VAND and NVAND? My dietetics professors impressed upon me the importance of staying involved and investing in our profession. After serving on the NVAND Board as the DTR Representative, I was asked to serve in the office of President. After careful consideration, I was honored to accept.
What is something you like to do for fun? I enjoy travel and cooking. I also like to work outside in my flower garden. I love to read and have been able to do more of this, thanks to my Kindle.
Any professional achievements that you want to brag about? When I was a Nutrition Consultant with the WIC Program in Pennsylvania, I helped several families by identifying undetected health conditions in their children. After medical providers received my consultations they not only confirmed my evaluations, but also took action to follow through by prescribing appropriate treatments for the children. Another one of my shining moments was when I was selected to be the recipient of the William C. Hill Award for Outstanding Graduate at Northern Virginia Community College (1999). The award is named in honor of the retired Air Force Colonel and World War II veteran, who was the first chair of the Annandale business division. As NVAND President, I am seeking to develop partnerships with allied associations, especially SNA, to strengthen our position and influence in nutrition and health issues that affect residents in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Inspirational Quote: We are a nation of communities . . . a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. – George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
Interviewed by Tarren Ismail, RDN
Sandeep (“Anu”) Kaur, MS, RDN, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Wellness Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher. She is a nationally selected Diversity Leader and past recipient of the Emerging Dietetic Leadership Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also the past-president of Northern Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NVAND) and contractor with the Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer, NCI with a focus on nutrition communication and research. Anu also assists with the John Milner Nutrition and Cancer Prevention Research Practicum and has a private practice.
Anu counsels & coaches individuals for optimal nutrition and wellness while integrating a mind-body-spirit approach and also teaches yoga to college students. She lives in the greater Washington DC Metropolitan area close to a local farm with her family and enjoys gardening. Anu also loves to sculpt, write, jog and thrives when she is part of community.
Number of years as an RD? 16 years (since 1999)
Why did you become an RD? As an undergraduate student, I majored in psychology with an emphasis in physiology and minored in biology at George Mason University, but interestingly it was an elective social work class I took that inspired me to go into nutrition and dietetics. That class offered me an opportunity to conduct individualized one-on-one psychosocial assessments with HIV patients seeking services from the Whitman Walker Clinic (WWC) in Washington, DC and I started to see what basic needs were not being met for many people, such as nutrition.
In retrospect, I think that experience offered me exposure to discovering my joy in connecting with people and being part of the process of helping people make transformative changes in the midst of the unexpected. This fact is what inspires me to currently work with cancer patients now. The people I had the privilege of working with at WWC were in essence confronted with their mortality and the seed was planted for me to think of ways to help people. The potential of nutrition intervention in this patient population motivated me to complete my Masters in Dietetics and Nutrition at JMU and I did my graduate research on HIV individuals and their use of dietary supplements.
Why did you choose to become involved in and stay involved in your local district group? Someone I knew from JMU who was in NVAND reached out to me and suggested I get involved as fundraising chair for NVAND after meeting her by chance at a dinner. I think that personal invitation and early grassroots experiences in the Indian community and also at JMU as Community Outreach Coordinator for the JMU Dietetics Association taught me how much I enjoy developing rapport with people and bringing people/communities together. In addition, being part of the Academy’s Diversity Leadership Program has further motivated me to stay involved and try new things. I met some inspiring people of all walks of life through the Academy.
What (if any) previous positions have you held on your local district board? Most recently I was the past-president of NVAND (2014-2015) after holding several different positions with both NVAND’s Executive Board and the VAND over the last 8-9 years.
Current Job? I have a private practice in Northern Virginia with offices both in Herndon and Fairfax and I find my training as a Certified WellCoach and Registered Yoga Teacher to be invaluable in working with clients. I also work as a nutrition consultant with a variety of organizations and work at the Division of Nutrition Prevention, NCI with Nutritional Science Research Group to assist with the John Milner Nutrition Cancer Prevention Research Practicum and other projects.
What do you love most about your job or being an RD? I love the flexibility with my job and the ability to choose projects or environments that stimulate me professionally and personally. I remain engaged in my field because I have the gift of doing what I love and constantly growing. There are many things about the dietetic field that excite me such as cancer survivorship, epigenetics and nutrigenomics, and in particular the role complementary mind-body modalities, such as yoga, and the evidence-based role complementary modalities play in chronic disease and prevention.
I really enjoy translating nutrition science into daily life strategies with individuals in my one-on-one experiences in private practice. Over the years I have continued to develop my counseling & coaching skills and have started to incorporate more ways to first connect with people so I can fully meet them where they are at today. I find that helping people with baby steps is what gives me more satisfaction then being “the expert.” It is the partnership with the individual and helping them understand the science that is applicable to their very personal life that is most empowering. In addition, given my personal experience with yoga as a practice and professional experiences such as teaching yoga to college students I am further cultivating a way to connect and dialogue with others, including health professionals, about what it means and looks like to integrate a mind-body-spirit approach in health care and personal wellness.
What is something you like to do for fun? I live in Ashburn near a farm, which is an environment I love because it has me wanting to do more gardening for myself. I have always thought working with a Master Gardener would be a blast. I also love to jog, read, and write. I recently did my first book reading wearing the role of a writer for an anthology, Her Name is Kaur in Reston, VA and that was a fun and new experience.
Any professional achievements or projects you are working on that you want to brag about? I am working on a book chapter on dietary preferences of cancer patients and also looking forward to presenting on Integrative Approaches in nutrition in different professional settings. I have several writing and speaking engagements in the pipelines that I believe are innovative in thinking that I hope to share. In particular, I am excited about further understanding the therapeutics of yoga and yoga philosophy that can be applicable to healthcare as I am starting my advanced yoga training (500 hour level) and hope to complete that training in mid-2016.
Mary VanNortwick, MS, RDN
Professional Position: Director of Dining Services
Interviewed by Tarren Ismail, RDN
Mary VanNortwick, Director of Dining Services, is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) with a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and a Master’s of Science in food service administration. Additionally, she has a master’s certificate in project management from GWU and is a certified wellness coach through Wellcoaches.
Following a non-traditional career path, Mary has held numerous and varied positions, including staff clinical dietitian, diabetes research case manager, director of dining services, vice president and chief operating officer, and district manager. Mary currently serves as the Wellness Coordinator at Mary Baldwin College as part of the Chartwells team of managers where she works daily to integrate wellness and dining services. Mary joined MBC Dining in 2007. Mary lives with her husband Chris, their two daughters Sarah and Olivia and pack of three dogs in Staunton, VA, where the view is always beautiful.
Number of years as an RD? 32
Why did you become an RD? Initially, it was my interest in the role of food in health and disease.
What is your current job? I serve as the Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator for Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA.
What do you love most about your job or being an RD? I love being involved with the roles that food plays in health, disease and lifestyle. We literally touch people where they live through what they eat and all that goes into their choices. Professionals often speak of the need to “make a difference” through their careers; we are fortunate as RDN’s to be squarely positioned to do just that – every day with everyone.
What is something you like to do for fun? I cook with my two daughters. We have made food the proper center of our family universe for years. But now, as young adults, it is very enriching to see them select a recipe and prepare it to a beautiful completion all while making good choices for the many reasons we promote.
Any professional achievements or projects you are working on that you want to brag about? I have two, actually. I am a lifelong learner, as they say, and I am going back to my first love through our profession’s wise involvement in educating us in the role and practice of functional medicine. Additionally, I am involved daily in the lives, not just the plates, of my campus community. As a wellness coordinator, I have the opportunity to engage with people in ways that really make a difference, not just on how and what they eat but on how and why they live. I have known from my days in college that food is the end point not the starting point and wellness bears that out. I am thrilled to take nutrition into every aspect of the way people live. I coordinate, and at times create, opportunities for people to do the heavy lifting required to bring meaningful change to their choices and actions.
Cindy L. MacIntyre, RDN
Professional Position: President, F&K Management, Inc.
Current Volunteer Position: VAND Treasurer
Interviewed by Tarren Ismail, RDN
VAND is excited to present Cindy L. MacIntyre as our Featured RDN! Cindy is an avid supporter of VAND, and has been involved in VAND for a countless number of years. Read on to learn more about this influential RDN in our profession.
Tell us about yourself. I have lived in Northern Virginia almost all of my life; growing up in Alexandria and moving to Arlington after marrying my husband. We have five children who have attended the Arlington Public Schools. I have been very involved in the PTAs and Boosters organizations for many years and especially enjoy working on school allergy alert policies, nutritious parties and bake sales, food and nutrition service advisory board, butterfly project, outdoor science classroom, school gardens and as a guest teacher/lecturer on nutrition for various stages of child development. I am also very active within my church especially with service in our food pantry, fresh produce garden for the food pantry and meals for the homeless.
How did you get started in your career? Professionally, I started my nutrition career as a clinical dietitian for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center. The medical center had a long term care and rehabilitative emphasis with an acute care component and had just started moving into the outpatient clinics and geriatrics. At the VA, I was part of starting a nutrition support team and establishing protocol to send the patient with an elevated cholesterol to a dietitian first before starting medication. I then moved to the administrative dietitian position so that I could make some changes. The first item on the list of changes was to take the emphasis off of the “double portions” diet and instituted family style meals for the substance abuse programs. I later became chief of the department. I became involved with the Federal Women’s Program and the Equal Employment Opportunity Program. I also got involved in quality improvement and process improvement.
Several years ago, I started my own business. My husband and I opened a casual dining restaurant called “Hard Times Café”. Over twenty five years, we have grown to own 6 locations and two stands at sporting venues and franchise another 7 stores. It is amazing the difference from government owned and operated to personally owned and operated. It can make your head spin sometimes.
I have had a varied career but through the years of employment and volunteering, I still get a thrill to spread the word about proper nutrition in health and disease on an individual basis or as it affects public policy. I especially love when someone gets the idea of taking care of themselves and to control their chronic disease through proper diet and exercise after meeting with a dietitian.
Why did you become an RD? I took a community nutrition class at Northern Virginia Community College, enjoyed the class and found out that NVCC had a dietetic technician program; was accepted and drank up the vast array of opportunities there were when involved in nutrition and dietetics.
Why did you choose to become involved in and stay involved in VAND and NVAND? I can still see my diet therapy professor on the last day of class say that we needed to do two things as we embarked on our professional careers; 1) read “the journal” monthly, stay abreast on the news and research as it pertained to nutrition and dietetics and 2) don’t just join our professional association, but get involved in it; you will meet other professionals and continue to grow professionally as well. How true are her words still today!
What previous positions have you held on NVAND Board? After a continuing education program, I approached the then president about volunteering. She said she needed a fundraiser; I was game and that was the beginning. Besides fundraising, I have served as finance committee chairperson, President-elect, President, and Federal Legislative Representative. For VAND; I have served as NVAND’s representative, Public Policy coordinator, and am currently the treasurer.
What do you love most about your job or being an RD? What I love most about being an RD is where you can go with your education and background. The sky is the limit, weather you affect/influence one person or a group of people in the name of nutrition.
What is something you like to do for fun? I have five children and have enjoyed and still enjoy watching/cheering them play various team sports.
Any professional achievements that you want to brag about? I testified for the National Commission on Hunger. This is something I had never done before. It was exciting as well as nerve racking, but very informative.
Do you know a RD/RDN or DTR/NDTR that rocks? Tell us about him/her! Contact the VAND Member Services Chair to feature a VAND member who makes you proud of our profession! Please include a small digital head shot with a 100 word description on their achievements/contributions to the profession and association. Include his/her contact info for the interview.