A message from our DDA Advocacy/Legistative Co-Chairs, Yolanda and Kirsten:
This month we interviewed one of our amazing DDA members to find out how she advocates for the dietetics profession. Our goal through these interviews is to develop the value of the profession in many different environments and to build up colleagues or those interested in pursuing the profession in a unique form.
Our spotlight is on Florence Dontoh, MPH, RDN, LD (she’s also our membership chair!) as she shares with us her personal experience in advocacy during her career.
Question: What is your role at your place of employment?
I primarily work as a Field Consultant across seven long term care and rehab facilities in the metroplex. I also work PRN as a clinical dietitian in a rural hospital.
Question: What motivates you in your work as a dietetic professional?
What motivates me as a dietetic professional is the challenge of diverse situations, ranging from complex patients in the clinical setting to the business aspects of communicating with various personnel in the nursing, administrating and kitchen management across the facilities.
Question: What have you done to advocate for the profession or field of nutrition and dietetics?
I have participated in several interdisciplinary teams in my facilities and advocated the importance of nutrition on an individual’s health outcomes and how it is a collaborative effort. I try to be available on different platforms (ie. call, text, e-mail) to the staff in the facilities I consult and available as needed. I provide mentorship to other dietitians when it comes to salary negotiation and job acquisition, as I do have a passion for that. Showing initiative in a variety of projects, from policy building, to implementing a new pathway of nutrition care has been a way of advocating our field in nutrition.
Question: What would you say to those who are creating a new path (as a dietetic professional) and how to navigate to find their niche?
Be open minded to new and different opportunities, they can advance you to a skillset that may serve you for years to come. Take the time to jot down what your interests in the field are, and find opportunities that can nourish these interests. Don’t be afraid to take on projects in your work environment that may seem daunting! Be daring!
Be honest to yourself—what are your goals as a professional presently? What are qualities you aspire to achieve? Set goals in on a month increment and then year to year. I have found the best way in creating a path, is to be open to learning and be of service in instances where you wouldn’t think you would be of help! Sometimes being present and even saying, “I do not know the answer currently, but let me see what I can do” can go miles.