Hello! My name is Nicole Brown and I’m an intern at the New Bedford, MA campus. Being an intern at this location has provided me with opportunities to gain experiences at three different hospitals and many satellite locations as part of the Southcoast Hospitals Group. In addition to standard clinical practice, I’ve been able to experience the role of the RD in an outpatient setting, oncology, weight management, and my main area of interest – bariatrics. I think the role of the RD as an educator is one of the most important roles, and I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities to educate in all of these settings.
Additionally, and as part of my community rotation, I am working with the Greater New Bedford Wellness Initiative. This community-based program provides free adult education classes, including nutrition, exercise, and meditation/relaxation techniques in order to promote prevention of disease and raise health awareness. As a nutrition educator, I have designed and executed a curriculum that focuses on heart health. Some of the topics covered include whole grains, heart healthy fats/Mediterranean Diet, eating a rainbow/phytochemicals, and label reading. At the end of each class, I always demonstrate a plant-based, low-cost, heart healthy recipe. My most recent class was about sodium and salt-free/low sodium ways to season food. We reviewed guidelines, and discussed the role of sodium in the body. Participants then guessed an herb or spice by smell, and then we talked about how to use it in cooking applications. Since some salad dressings can be quite high in sodium, we discussed how easy it is to make salad dressing at home. I then demonstrated how to make a balsamic and basil vinaigrette which was served over fresh tomatoes and used fresh basil – both of which came from my own garden. The recipe is simple. Simply add a 2:1 ratio of olive or canola oil to balsamic vinegar into a small mason jar. Add in fresh basil leaves – either chopped or torn and add salt & pepper if desired. Place the cover on the mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pour over salad and enjoy! The participants loved the fresh basil and appreciated how easy it was to make. I have enjoyed my experience so much, that I plan on continuing to work with New Bedford Wellness Initiative even after the internship is complete.