Members from the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science are recognized for their contributions to the world of science
Dietetic intern Erica Card was recently awarded the 2020 Outstanding Dietic Student for Utah. She was nominated by the BYU dietetics faculty for her impressive work as an intern.
Card says she chose dietetics because she values the importance of “having a healthy relationship with food.” She is especially passionate about helping those who suffer from eating disorders. She wants to study healthy eating approaches that don’t come from fad diets and harsh food restrictions.
Currently Card is researching how admission criteria for dietetic internships might affect the field’s overall diversity pool. (To become a dietician, an internship is required after graduating with an undergraduate degree.)
“I feel strongly that the more we can diversify our profession, the more people we can reach and serve,” Card says.
Grad student Brittany Woodbury completed her undergraduate degree in April 2021 with a Bachelors in Dietetics and a minor in gerontology. She was recently granted a gerontology graduate fellowship to fund her research. As part of her master’s degree project, she has partnered with the Utah Malnutrition Advocacy Taskforce to combat malnutrition in Utah.
“Malnutrition isn’t just something that happens in third-world countries,” Woodbury says. “It’s very prevalent even in the U.S.”
Lack of nutrition, she explains, doesn’t necessarily mean starvation or an absence of resources; rather, for whatever reason, the patient lacks an incorrect balance of nutrients for their needs. Because it can have a broad criterion, malnutrition is difficult to identify and treat. Woodbury will research and write on this issue, specifically how it applies to the people of Utah. In the long term, Woodbury hopes to influence state policies to aid in malnutrition.
As part of her fellowship, Woodbury will present her findings at the annual Gerontology Conference at BYU in March.
Dr. Sarah Bellini
Dr. Sarah Bellini, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics & Food Science, was given the 2021 Award of Merit by the Utah Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She was named 2021’s “Outstanding Dietician of the Year” for her leadership and contributions to the field of dietetics. Bellini will be recognized in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Bellini’s research focuses on pediatric malnutrition. Lack of nutrition in children is estimated to cause nearly half of the world’s juvenile mortalities. She participates in both the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group Malnutrition Committee and the Utah Malnutrition Taskforce. Recently, Bellini published manuscripts on the use of handgrip strength in identifying malnutrition in youth.
"Currently, I am working with graduate students and other healthcare experts on developing and validating nutrition risk screening tools for Hispanic children aged three to five years, and children with cystic fibrosis from 0 to 2 years,” Bellini says.