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Dietetic Internship Program Graduates 28th Class

  • Category: In The News
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  • Written By: Melanie Lanaux Zaffuto
Dietetic Internship Program Graduates 28th Class

North Oaks Health System’s Dietetic Internship faculty and staff honored seven graduates for completing the program June 17. Commencement was held at the E. Brent Dufreche Conference Center with limited guests and social distancing measures in place.

Graduates pictured above, from left, include: Jessica Greer of Covington; Alexandra Marquez of Kenner; Samantha Hawkins of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Carolynn Claussen of Green Bay, Wisconsin; Kanika Sayal of Houston, Texas; Gladys Winnik of St. Petersburg, Florida; and Christina Dorcey of Covington. 

Three graduates received awards this year.

Hawkins received the Mary Nelson Award that is given by program faculty in recognition of eagerness to learn, dedication to the profession and high professional standards.

Dorcey was selected by her peers to receive the Dannye Young Taylor “Always Remembering Others” Award in recognition of selfless assistance of others. Now retired, Taylor was a longtime patient representative for North Oaks Health System. The award was created in her honor by her husband, Dr. Rodney Taylor.

Sayal received the Carol Bertrand Award for Excellence. The award was created in memory of the late Bertrand, who was a registered dietitian, grassroots advocate for the dietetics profession and graduate of North Oaks’ second Dietetic Internship class. Faculty selected Sayal for her essay on the potential of registered dietitians taking a role in public policy related to medical nutrition therapy.

Kristin West, a 2012 graduate of the North Oaks Dietetic Internship program and a registered dietitian with Baton Rouge General Medical Center, served as guest speaker. She reminded the graduates that each job opportunity they are given will serve a purpose and add value to their skill set.

“As dietitians, we have the potential to help individuals transform their health and quality of life,” West asserted. 

West continued, “There is no way to measure the joy that comes from helping someone bring their A1C down seven points, find relief from debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms and put their condition in remission or finally establish a healthy relationship with food. Never underestimate the significant impact that you can make in someone’s life as a dietitian.”

Diplomas were conferred by North Oaks Dietetic Internship Program Director Leslie Ballard and Clinical Nutrition Manager Kathleen Schneider.

Since 1994, the North Oaks Dietetic Internship Program has offered qualified individuals a unique opportunity to attain eligibility for the Registration Examination for Dietitians through one year of supervised experience.

For more information about the North Oaks Dietetic Internship, contact the program office at (985) 230-6548.