When Carol H. Elliott, RDN, LDN, FAND, opened her private practice in 1979, few if any nutrition counseling services were available. "Everyone was surprised because I was thinking outside the box, but I think it was the best decision," she says. "I have touched the lives of many and hope to continue for several years."
Elliott believes the future of dietetics is in research, so her latest endeavors include multiple roles as a member of the Dietetics Practice Based Research Network. "The DPBRN has provided me with opportunities to contribute to the development of the committee and oversee numerous projects to promote nutrition, dietetics and the services of registered dietitian nutritionists," Elliott says. "When volunteering, you get back more than you give. It is a great opportunity to be a productive member of our Academy."
What DPBRN project did you participate in, and why did you decide to do it?
My committee membership was as a representative of the Dietetics in Health Care Communities (DHCC) dietetic practice group. Currently I am the chair of the DPBRN Oversight Committee. The DPBRN has provided me with opportunities to contribute to the development of the Committee and oversee numerous projects to promote nutrition and dietetics and the services of the registered dietitian nutritionist. As a member of the council, I help to coordinate activities with the NCPT and Evidence Based Practice Committees. My sub-committee role on the council is working on the scientific Integrity Policy for the Academy.
I am [also] one of the DPBRN RDNs assisting with the "Subjective Assessment of Dietary Intake" project, which is still in the planning stages. Through the use of case studies, this project will demonstrate how RDNs evaluate assessment data. It is very important that RDNs know how to complete dietary assessments, as it is the first step of the Nutrition Care Process. NCP implementation should show that the RDNs with the same educational background and experience arrive at the same conclusions.
How have you personally benefited from participating in research?
As a member of the Academy, it is my honor to give back to the association that has supported me throughout my career. When volunteering, you get back more than you give.
Did you have any research experience before participating in a DPBRN project?
I have been working with local research companies since 1998: teaching diet modifications to study participants, monitoring their dietary intake records, providing nutrition counseling, completing dietary analyses, writing research menus for in-house stays during studies, and documenting the data required for study evaluations. Some of these studies covered such areas as weight management, diabetes, cardiac concerns, lipid management, renal disease and hypertension.
Would you recommend other RDNs get involved in research?
I would, because this is the future of dietetics. Research can enhance the quality of care RDNs provide to their clients — research will provide the evidence-based data to back this up, and it can be combined with the daily activities of the RDN. Research helps to promote the profession of dietetics.