GCC Dietetic Technology graduate Lisa Schmitt, DTR, has been elected to a national position in the Dietetic Technicians in Practice, Dietetic Practice Group in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She will use the platform to advocate for dietetic technicians locally and nationally. To her, they play a frontline role in public health, assisting people in learning how to make healthy eating choices, helping people to lose weight and to prevent and manage disease.
“I want to be a voice for people in our field,” she said. “I am proud to serve on the national board.” In fact, it was her voice and her interest in connecting dietetic technicians around the country that led to her nomination to the national position, said Marcia Doran, M.S., R.D. professor and program coordinator of the Dietetic Technology Program. After graduation Schmitt started a professional group for dietetic technicians on LinkedIn; soon she was linking professionals across the U.S.
“She was an exceptional student! She excelled in the classroom and throughout her field experiences. Lisa was a trend setter in effectively utilizing social media,” Doran said. “She is a terrific example as a tutor for our current students. I know she will continue to make a difference in our profession.”
Schmitt’s formal title with the academy is nominating chair of the Dietetic Technicians in Practice. She said she plans to play an active role at board meetings.
Schmitt currently holds three jobs. Her primary job is a class manager for Cooking Matters, a healthy cooking program for children, teens and families in Bridgeport. The program, funded by the Community Health Network Foundation out of Wallingford, presents nutrition workshops at schools, community centers, health centers and any public agencies that serve low-income clients. It is part of Share Our Strength, whose mission aims to have “No Kid Hungry” by 2015.
She also is a dietetic technician at Yale-New Haven Hospital, working in the Food and Nutrition Department’s call center, and she tutors students in Gateway’s Dietetic Technology Program.
“I enjoy helping students with their Nutrition and Food Services classes and mentoring those completing their required field experience assignments,” she said. “It is important to give back because I have been fortunate to be able to use the education I received at Gateway to build a career. All of my professors took the time to be mentors to me and the program is outstanding.”
Schmitt said she loves her work, particularly teaching children, teens and families how to cook well on a very limited budget.
“As a community nutritionist I find that many people already know what is good for them, but there are many barriers they have to overcome in order to be able to do it,” she said. “Teaching skills, such as cooking techniques to reduce fat and giving them the tools, such as learning how to read a food label, empowers them.”
Her nutrition tips? “Simple and basic: Eat more fruits and vegetables and food first,” she said. She quoted Hippocrates, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food."