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Suzanne K. Meier RD, CDN, CDE
Specialties: Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified: Registered Dietitian, Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator
Prior Experience: Horton Medical Center, Middletown, NY
Undergraduate: Plattsburgh State University College
Year Joined: 2003
What made you want to become a health care provider or what is your earliest memory of wanting to be one?
I come from a family of health professionals; my mom is a registered nurse, and my sister is a pediatrician, so there was somewhat of a focus on health and medicine growing up in our home. I had an interest both in cooking and the sciences in high school. When looking for a career that involved the study of both food and how our bodies use it, the field of nutrition was a natural choice.
What do you love most about your specialty? / Why did you choose your specialty?
Although I have a special certification in diabetes education, I see people with a wide variety of medical conditions that impact their nutritional needs. The challenge as a dietitian is to not only have a thorough knowledge of nutrients and what foods contain them, but also how the physiological changes associated with different diseases/conditions may change a person's need for or use of different nutrients. Being able to effectively communicate this information to a patient in a way that will be meaningful to them is also part of the challenge of my job; I very much enjoy that challenge.
How do you connect with your patients?
What and how much people eat is determined not only by their bodies nutrient needs, but is very much connected with their lifestyle, family/home environment, emotional issues, and cultural influences. Because of this, I need to spend a fair amount of time listening to each patient to learn about how these aspects of their lives effect their individual food choices; then together we can plan healthy changes which will actually work in the context of that patient's life.
What are your interests outside of the office (hobbies, activities)?
I love to run; especially trail running. I also enjoy many other outdoor pursuits; climbing mountains, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. I have a real passion for cooking (and eating); this has given me a good working knowledge of food preparation which helps me to have useful suggestions to share with my patients.
What is your advice for your patients?
I try as much as possible to emphasize the positive when recommending changes in a person's diet. It is not only about limiting those foods that may have negative health consequences; getting enough of those foods that are potentially protective and health-promoting is just as important when looking at a person's diet. What this means for most patient's, is that I am telling them to eat a lot more vegetables!