I'm 86 and I'm closer to the end of it than I am to the beginning so I want to do everything that is possible in order to maintain my health and live a better life.
Diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes more than 10 years ago, Barbara believes she has a lot to gain through her counseling sessions with the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences nutrition student.
I haven't always been diligent about what I should eat, when I should eat, and how I should eat.
But a student from Pitt's Graduate Nutrition and Dietetics Program is showing Barbara the way through the students community outreach placement at a local Senior Center.
I first met her when she started coming to some of my classes. And she was always very, she had a ton of questions. She and they were always great questions to she asked, "could we meet one on one," and pretty much just went from there.
I've been coming into her cooking classes, I had never eaten tofu, and I was happy to be able to taste it the enthusiasm that Tawnee has, you know, for this type of nutritional eating makes me you know, once again, an acquired taste for some of these strange to me nutritional foods.
She is absolutely my star client. She is so motivated, and it's motivating to me. So I love working with her because I know I'm going to go in there. And I'm going to leave there feeling better about what I'm doing and I'm going to be more motivated to do better at my job.
Through community outreach placements, students gain a wide variety of experiences that guide them in the career choices and help them become confident healthcare professionals. The program is like none other.
It's unique from the fact that we combine medical nutrition therapy with some very practical kind of application in the community. Other programs that emphasize the medical nutrition therapy don't have the resources we have to get our students out there.
With all the community outreach that I was able to do or that I had the opportunity to volunteer with through SHRS, I think I found a path that suited me much better than if I hadn't had those experiences.
Diverse placement opportunities give students hands-on experience working with various audiences.
It's nice that we have this opportunity as students, to work with different communities, different ethnic backgrounds, and see where they all start from.
For example, the Let's Move Pittsburgh Program at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens allow students to interact with families, parents and teachers.
In our program, we focus on raising awareness about nutrition and physical activity. Pitt's program is a natural fit because we take a more public health approach to our work. So we're looking at prevention, and we're looking at reaching a population as a whole. But we're not dietitians. So having graduate students come in and help communicate information is really valuable.
We're scientific based, we're fact based. So when we go out there, we have the opportunity to answer questions that people have that you know, they might not believe, maybe the truth from other sources.
I want the person who's working in the community to link that medical nutrition therapy to people who they are, where they live, what they can afford, how they can survive. We know we're giving a little bit more than just a good education, we're giving life skills.
But you know, I'm still a student, so I'm still learning how to counsel people.
What applies to one population or one group or one person doesn't necessarily apply to another person and so you're applying your clinical skills, but then you've got to tweak them a little bit for whoever you're working with.
Before I became involved with Tawnee and this program, I was sort of on my own and fluctuating, you know, just not being as dedicated as I should have been. And this has given me a lot of impetus to get there and I will.