Plan Your Own
Interns have benefited from the Plan Your Own (PYO) experience in several ways. First and foremost, they are free to choose any area of dietetics they wish to explore further. From test kitchens and lactation consultants to eating disorder centers and fitness facilities, BIDMC dietetic interns have tried it all. Through this unique experience they have the opportunity to discuss career paths, develop contacts in fields that are of interest to them, and gain valuable experience and exposure in specialties to which they otherwise would not have had access. Interns PYO experiences are not limited to the Boston area, but each PYO rotation must have a signed affiliation agreement before the intern can spend even one day at a specific rotation.
Click on the sections below to read more about specific Plan Your Own rotations by past students.
Class of 2016, Rumya M.
I spent a week with the Meal Makeover Moms who are two RDs that have their own food blog and podcast aimed at helping parents feed their children healthy, nutritious meals. Their theme for the week that I was there was pulses and we wanted to create a healthy twist on alphabet soup by adding in lentils. I learned the process by which a blog is created, where every step is photographed to help the audience recreate the recipe at home. I learned about 'mise in place' which is a French term for 'everything in place'; this is done at the beginning of a recipe where all the ingredients are measured out and organized ready to be used in the recipe. I learned about food photography including lighting and staging to make the photographs stand out. I also got a little involved in their podcast about pulses where I was invited to speak about my experience with pulses. Another task I helped with was recreating the snickerdoodle cookie. Janice and Liz wanted to bring the taste of a snickerdoodle to a new item, and after much research on Pinterest and various other food blogs, we came up with the "no bake date ball". This was a fun task as I got to put together the recipe and execute it myself. Being with the Meal Makeover Moms really opened my eyes to the world of food blogging and the amount of time and effort it takes to create the perfect post.
Class of 2014, Maria L.
In my time spent at Tufts University in HIV and nutrition research I was able to attend a community support group for women with HIV. It was fascinating to see women along the full spectrum of HIV from women at risk but not HIV positive, to those newly diagnosed, to those who have been living with HIV for many years. The group was very welcoming and open about the hardships of living with HIV.
In addition, I was able to observe several different aspects of two different research projects. One study examined the effect of fish oil supplementation on HIV associated dyslipidemia and the second study examined the effect of a bovine immunoglobulin on HIV associated diarrhea. During these sessions I observed subjects throughout their entire research visit, which included sessions with a nurse, a dietitian, and other health practitioners.
During this rotation, I gained insight into the life of a research dietitian and the unique challenges that HIV survivors face.
Class of 2013, Lauren D.
I spent this past week with Kate Scarlata, RD who specializes in the low FODMAP diet for patients with IBS. Before I began the rotation, she asked me to come up with a FODMAP friendly recipe that we could blog about together. I developed a carrot cake recipe for this project. This first day I learned so much about what it takes to post a good blog, other social networking sites, and how to get your name out there as an RD. I didn't realize how much work goes into each blog post. At each step of the cooking process we stopped to thoughtfully arrange the ingredients and take photographs. Kate had all sorts of "props" to use such as interesting plates, cutting boards, tables, napkins, silverware, etc. This project took most of the day because she let me take all the photographs and explained things to me as we went along. I also asked her a lot of questions about digestive health and private practice. Kate also had one phone session that I was able to listen to.
The next few days we saw patients in Kate's Medway and West Roxbury offices. Kate sees a mix of patients with IBS, other digestive disorders, celiac disease, and patients coming in for weight loss. Many of her patients have a very sensitive GI tract. She spends a lot of time with them discussing how specific foods may lead to their symptoms. For example, one patient was on the low FODMAP diet but still had a lot of gas and bloating. Kate went into detail with her about every food she was eating to figure out what may have caused her symptoms.
It was great to hear Kate explain the low FODMAP diet to patients. It can be very confusing and overwhelming, so she breaks it down into pieces for patients to understand. It was also great to observe her counseling style. She allows over an hour for most of her patients. This allows her to really go into detail about what they are eating and about their symptoms. At the end of the session, she usually gave patients some new menu ideas. They always appreciate this because they get bored of eating the same things on a restricted diet.
Kate is consistently keeping up with the research on digestive health. She shared so many resources with me including articles, books, websites, and researchers. She really inspired me to read a lot more about digestive health and make sure I always know the current research because it is constantly changing. After completing my MNT rotation and my rotation with Kate, I feel like I have the tools to work in an outpatient setting or start a private practice if I ever chose to do so.
Class of 2013, Marina V.
The first three days of my plan your own experience were spent at Shriner's Burns Hospital for Children. I was able to attend morning team rounds each day which helped me gain a better understanding of each patient and their status. I was able to see 1-3 patients per day for assessment and provided official documentation. I also gave each patient diet education, which mainly focused on high protein and high calorie diets for wound healing. Each morning I collected calorie counts and recorded their results. Jennifer provided me with multiple resources and articles to read throughout my rotation, which helped promote independent learning and provided me with a better knowledge foundation for this very specialized patient population. She also had me complete five case studies that we reviewed in detail. I was able to attend two education lectures facilitated by the medical staff as well as a medical team "wrap up" round. I also prepared for and presented a journal club for the RD's based on the article titled, "Reduction of resuscitation fluid volumes in severely burned patients using ascorbic acid administration". Finally, I was fortunate to observe reconstructive burn surgery in the OR consisting of multiple grafting and skin expansion.
Overall, I had a fantastic learning experience, gaining valuable and unique exposure to the burn injury population. Jennifer Hall, MS, RD was a wonderful preceptor who dedicated a large amount of time and effort into making sure I was able to have the best experience possible.
Class of 2012, Leslie M.
The four days I spent with Nicole Cormier who runs a successful private practice called Delicious Living Nutrition, was exactly what I hoped it would be. This rotation allowed me to see the logistics (good and bad) of running a business. I was able to bounce questions and ideas off of her, and she happily responded to all of them with her vast knowledge and experience. I recommend this rotation to ALL future interns as it is a truly unique opportunity.
I met Nicole in a variety of locations, thus a car is a must. On the first day, we met at a coffee shop where we really got to know each other and completed her online weekly newsletter. Next, we met one of her clients at Market Basket and went on a grocery store tour. This was fantastic. The next day, I met her at her E. Bridgewater office and we saw clients all afternoon. Nicole's approach to counseling was unique and I could definitely see consistency and the clients appreciated her. All of them had made progress toward their goals. The next day, I drove to Buzzards Bay, MA, where her boyfriend's farm is, and helped pack CSA bags. This was a neat behind the scenes experience that I doubt any other intern got to see! The final day, we saw clients in the morning and drove to Taunton in the afternoon to tape her weekly radio show (which airs on Sunday evenings).
In summary, this rotation was one of my favorites because it allowed me to immerse myself in what it would really be like to have my own business, something which is really attractive to me. Through Nicole's stories, I learned so much and rekindled how excited I am to be in this field. I thank her so much!
Class of 2012, Meg S.
Two days with Kathy Corley, NP were quick but left a clear picture of what goes on in her practice as an allergist/inflammatory specialist. Her days are spent testing patients for food and environmental allergies as well as working with patients on their care through medicine (both nasal sprays and taken by mouth). A significant amount of Kathy's patients think they have allergies (IgA responses) to foods when they actually have GI symptoms related to an intolerance. During a couple of sessions, it was helpful for me to explain the differences between intolerances and allergies, as well as general symptoms. We spoke regularly about the need for more research on intolerances and allergies and for the information to get to the lay press. It would cut down on unneeded appointments with patients without allergies and aid people in getting to the right departments for their symptoms, for instance GI. We spoke abut the need for more RDs for patients who have allergies and intolerances. People leave their appointments with diagnoses and either forget to make an appointment with an RD or aren't given the option.
Overall, my Plan Your Own week helped me to acknowledge my love for counseling.