Victoria Ballesteros-González was really lucky when she had the opportunity to interview Terri Raymond, president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Terri Raymond is not just the current president of that institution; She is a nutritionist and registered dietitian nutritionist, president, and owner of Dietitian Consulting Service, LLC, former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics of the State of Washington and winner of the President’s Award, which makes her a role model and an example for all the scientific girls, and women and girls in general.
Fortunately, Victoria was able to share a very interesting time with her, asking various questions and knowing her point of view on various topics.
Here is the interview below:
Question 1: Climate change is a current issue and for obvious reasons, we are all concerned. These few words sound so dangerous and shocking due to all the doubts that they provoke us. We know that this will affect nature and biodiversity, affecting us directly and to our environment. But, from your professional point of view, it will affect fully to our diet? Which will mean the climate change for our diet over time?
Answer 1: We are certainly aware that the climate is changing, and the production and consumption of food are possibly tied to climate change. So, sustainable food systems are so important to fit the growing population and minimize the effects of climate change on our food. Part of the things we try to promote is buying locally and in-season, the food is fresher, tastes better, costs less and it is more nutritious. In Spain you have to eat what is available at the time, living with what is in your environment. We have to follow the same pattern here, and support our local farmers and what comes out seasonally. Looking at where food is going, in the future is going to be very important to eat more plant-based food or eat more beans or lentils because they are food with less impact on our fossil fuels.
Question 2: Related to a previous article that I wrote for the platform called Agri-Tech: The real possibility of eliminating Malnutrition. What we can use as our first step to being able to stop malnutrition around the world? Which is the first thing we should do, related to technology or not?
Answer 2: Malnutrition is a focus area of our strategic plan and it involves many initiatives, including the Malnutrition Quality Improvement Initiative. We are working to help everybody recognize it and to have all health care team members value the importance of nutrition and the problem with malnutrition. So, as part of our initiative, we have created a program at hospitals. If we catch malnutrition at the hospital instead of this person being readmitted within a month, we see a reduction of 27% in readmission to the hospital… It is also a reduction in 2 days of treatment in the hospital. So, it is not only that they don´t return to the hospital, they also stay less time at the hospital.
Question 3: Actually, other fields of science are helping to improve the nutrition and diet of the world population. But what is its role? What will be its importance?
Answer 3: One in nine people on earth is suffering from malnutrition, hunger or food insecurity. We really need to raise awareness of what we are doing and what are the consequences.
The population is growing and the resources are decreasing.
This is where agricultural science comes in here. We need, on a global basis, to grow the right
kinds of food, like more vegetables and fruits.
Because though it is hard to believe, in the next forty years we will need as much food as we have produced in the last eight thousand years. In the next decade, 3.5 billion people
could experience water shortages.
We are working with agriculture, doing research and talking with customers. Testing the effectiveness of new interventions, we have to understand what is happening now agriculturally, and how we could be supporting sustainable agricultural systems. We don’t know how things are going to change, but they are coming out with amazing ways to grow food and improve access to water. We must work with different sciences, and I
am sure that chemistry and other types of science will be very important for us to have good, safe and nutritious food.
Question 4: And the last one, being an organization founded and now led by women scientists. What would be your advice and recommendation for all new scientists who are interested in pursuing your field of study (nutrition and dietetics)?
Answer 4: We encourage and empower all women as well as men to pursue a career in science. This goes to the very heart of the mission of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But historically, health care decisions have been controlled by women, meaning mothers taking care of their families. And now women work on the needs of others, including their health care.
Our organization was founded during World War I by a group of women who had science backgrounds.
They joined forces to ensure that the food and nutrition that supported our soldiers were good, as well
as ensuring that their families were also getting good food and nutrition.
In a recent survey, over half of twenty-five jobs for Millennials will be in a science-based field, so we
need to support that because it also has practical benefits for our lives.
Thank you to Terri Raymond for your time, collaboration and help at the moment to make
Also, thank you for being a wonderful inspiration and role model to so many girls like us and
our colleagues, for your dedication and effort.
Congratulations for your awesome work!
We wish to meet with you again and share enriching time as it was.