An appetite for long days

AT WORK

Dietitian-educator gives diabetes patients advice on ways to stay healthy

April 30, 2008|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST

Angela Ginn-Meadow

Outpatient clinical dietitian and diabetes educator

Joslin Diabetes Center, an affiliate of Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore

SALARY -- $57,500

AGE -- 28

YEARS ON THE JOB -- Six

HOW SHE GOT STARTED -- Ginn-Meadow wanted to combine her passions for dance, fitness, nutrition and medicine into a career so she graduated with a bachelor of science in food and nutrition from Morgan State University. She went on to complete a nine-month internship with Southern Regional Medical Center in Georgia. From there, she became a registered dietitian and was an outpatient dietitian for four years at St. Joseph Medical Center. Before joining Joslin Diabetes Center, she became a certified diabetes educator.

TYPICAL DAY -- Ginn-Meadow works four 10-hour days a week, seeing four to 10 patients a day. She is with patients for 30- to 90-minute sessions. She works with a team that also includes an endocrinologist and nurse educator, providing clinical services and educational services to patients. Usually, patients are referred to the center by their doctors, and the services typically are covered by insurance.

Ginn-Meadow advises patients on steps to stay healthy while living with diabetes. They include medication, nutrition, meal planning, exercise and lifestyle changes. She emphasizes a stress-free approach for her patients and assists them in determining and achieving personal goals. "When you focus more on the person and not just on someone telling them what to do, they are more accepting."

EDUCATION NEEDED -- Only about 10 percent of people with diabetes receive education about the disease, Ginn-Meadow said. "We know education helps lower the risk of complications. We have to get the word out so more people receive education."

THEPATIENTS -- Ginn-Meadow said her team sees all types of patients at the center, the majority having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which is often managed by exercise and diet. "We mostly talk about what their blood-sugar number actually means, how food and exercise affect it and are they taking their medication properly."

THE GOOD -- "Impacting people's lives."

THE BAD -- "Your job is almost 24 hours of the day. I'm always just a phone call away for my patients. People always need support."

PHILISOPHY ON THE JOB -- "If you're doing something you love, you can continue to do it forever."

OUTSIDE EFFORTS -- Ginn-Meadow also operates her own nutritional counseling and fitness business, Learn-2-Live, which offers meal planning, exercise routines, steps for managing high blood pressure and group lectures on nutrition. She also works to promote diversity in the nutrition industry by providing mentoring services and speaking at career fairs. In addition, she is the Baltimore-area spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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