Empowering Future Dietitians to Transform Their Communities

Many things can spark interest in a certain career, but when it comes to Nutrition and Dietetics, the desire to guide and counsel others is one of the driving forces. Empathy is a trait that is shared among nutrition students, which should come as no surprise: nutrition is a very personal aspect of our lives.

Embarking on a journey towards a certain wellness goal or achieving a healthy weight requires the guidance of an expert who is able to establish trusting, high-touch relationships.

I’m constantly amazed at the diversity of new ideas that are being explored by students who strive to create innovative solutions to some of our most urgent nutrition issues. And we are doing our part to support them.

Our company works closely with nutrition societies and academic departments around the world in order to nurture a strong relationship between Herbalife Nutrition and the dietetic community. I’m proud to work for a company that supports the work of students who are raising the bar in the field of nutrition research.

Today, I want to share the stories of two dietetic students, Katherine Ellison and Robin Hensch.  We are proud of our association with these talented women whose goal it is to make a positive impact on public health and their communities.

Katherine Ellison, MS, RDN, LDN, Recipient of the 2020 American Society for Nutrition Herbalife Nutrition Scholarship

Katie Ellison is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and a Ph.D. student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Like many who are drawn into the field of nutrition, Katie’s interest was sparked by a personal experience – during her high school years, she lost 50 pounds after making changes to her diet and exercise routine.

“While this was a big change initially,” she says, “I kept gaining the weight back and experiencing this yo-yo effect. I realized that it takes more than just behavioral changes to achieve successful weight loss and weight maintenance: there are physiological and biological changes to consider, and I really wanted to learn about them.”

During her dietetic internship as a graduate student, Katie recognized gaps in the current care plans for patients struggling to lose weight and keep it off.  “Questions loomed in my head: what happens when that person leaves the clinic after getting instructions? Who teaches them to adopt the care plan into their lifestyle and translate that care?” These questions demanded answers, and Katie is pursuing her Ph.D. in order to better understand the components of a successful nutrition care program and, ultimately, to use what she learns to improve patient outcomes.

Katherine Ellison at an expo

Katie’s Ph.D. project is a clinical trial evaluating three factors that could impact patient success with weight loss and maintenance.  First, she will be examining the effectiveness of in-person coaching vs. virtual coaching.  Secondly, she will be exploring whether gym memberships do, in fact, encourage members to regularly exercise. And lastly, she hopes to have a better understanding of the impact of weight loss medications in the overall care plan.

“I hope to learn what combination of interactions between these components works best for weight loss and maintenance,” she says. “My goal is to make a positive impact on people’s lives by making weight loss interventions feasible and as cost-effective as possible for the patients and care providers.”

As a recipient of the Herbalife Nutrition Scholarship through the American Society for Nutrition, Katie plans to add another layer to her research project. With a long-standing interest in the role of phytonutrients in human health, she will also be examining the effects of phytonutrient intake on weight maintenance. Ultimately, she says, she hopes to develop a program of nutrition-based interventions that could be adopted throughout the state of Alabama.

“I’ve always had a strong affinity to community-based programs and participatory research. Getting to know these people is essential to build a relationship, and that is crucial for translating care from clinical sciences into actual lifestyle interventions.”

Robin Hensch, Dietetic Intern and M.S. Candidate of Nutritional Science at CSULB

Like so many students in the field, Robin Hensch is passionate about nutrition and is looking forward to a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. As part of her dietetic internship program through California State University, Long Beach, she self-selected a two-week rotation with Herbalife Nutrition to complement her rotations in clinical nutrition, food services, public health, nutrition specialty, and business.

Robin Hensch

Robin said that she “chose Herbalife Nutrition for my self-select rotation as I have always had an interest in nutrition in the industry setting.” She added, “I have a double bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Food Science, and I enjoy the intermingling of these two fields since they do share some similar aspects.”

During her rotation with Herbalife Nutrition, Robin worked in various departments to get real-life industry experience. “Everything that I experienced as an intern with Herbalife Nutrition showed me how passionate and rigorous employees are about their work and evidence-based research,” she said. “It showed me how working within the industry can be a rewarding experience.”

In the future, Robin sees herself working either in a school district in the Nutrition Services department or within a company that would allow her to tap into her dual background in Dietetics and Food Science backgrounds. “I see myself as someone who can work from the inside to ensure that the product a customer gets is the highest quality possible.”

Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND –Sr.Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan BowermanM.S., RD, CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman earned a B.S. in biology with distinction from the University of Colorado, and received her M.S. in food science and nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a registered dietitian, holds two board certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a certified specialist in sports dietetics, and a certified specialist in obesity and weight management, and is a Fellow of the Academy.