A Place to Highlight our present and past Members
By Erika Ford
Tell us how you first got involved in SWMDDA. I first became a member during my internship, but I didn't get involved until this year.
Why are you a SWMDDA member? I love the monthly meetings because they are a chance to get to know other local dietitians and the continuing education opportunities are nice.
Do you have a favorite quote? Favorite poem - The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Tell us a little about yourself. I grew up in Coldwater, MI. I moved to the Philadelphia area several years ago and returned to the Kalamazoo area for my internship.
What was the last book you read? Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received? Say yes to as many opportunities as you can!
Who has been your biggest cheerleader/supporter/mentor? My twin sister, Kim
I began my nutrition career at Michigan State University (Go Green!) where I obtained my BS in Dietetics. I completed my dietetic internship through West Virginia University Hospital in Morgantown, WV. From there, I moved to Chicago where I worked as the Registered Dietitian until moving back to Michigan in 2013.
I have had a variety of experiences in my professional career including working in outpatient, inpatient, and home infusion settings. I also obtained my CNSC certification in 2016 while working at Ascension Borgess. I completed my Master Degree in Human Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University in 2017 while working full-time. Currently, I am the Lead Outpatient Dietitian at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI. Here, I am help develop outpatient nutrition services for the greater Kalamazoo area. I was awarded the Recognized Young Dietitian of 2020 by the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
I have been a member of SWMDDA since moving back to Michigan in 2013 and from 2019-2020. I served as Public Relations Chair for the SWMDDA Board. SWMDDA has been a wonderful support system for local dietetics professionals providing fun and new learning opportunities. SWMDDA has allowed me to meet a wide variety of dietetics professionals and contacts that have provided me with both personal and professional growth opportunities.
Fun fact about me: I grew up as a competitive alpine downhill ski racer and traveled the country training and racing for much of my childhood. This is what originally led me to nutrition. As an athlete, I wanted to improve my physical capabilities through improved health and nutrition.
By: Erika Ford
I received my B.S. in Dietetics from MSU and did my internship with Morrison-Chartwells in the Metro-Detroit area. After completing and becoming registered, I moved to Kalamazoo for my first job as a clinical RD at Borgess in 2015. It was here that I experienced tremendous growth for myself as an RD with a large credit to my CNM, Takara Page. She always encouraged her dietitians to get involved and grow in whatever areas they had interest.
Part of that included joining SWMDDA to meet the fellow RD community. SWMDDA is a great way to keep up with learning about topics that may not be in your everyday practice, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the variety of topics presented throughout the years.
I earned my CNSC in 2016. I spent the majority of my time doing TPN/EN in the ICU and acute care GI surgery population. I was also able to dabble in outpatient teaching classes and work on quality improvement projects.
In 2018, I made the shift to work remotely from home (say whaaaat? I can work from home as an RD – who would have thought!) for Coram CVS Home Infusion. Here, I specialize in qualifying Medicare patients for enteral nutrition. I complete chart reviews for home tube feeding referrals to evaluate that a patient’s medical record will support enteral nutrition benefits of Medicare. These things could include a patient’s GI impairment, length of need, type of formula, method of administration, and calorie and protein levels. If the medical record is not sufficient, I let those referring the patient know what other documentation is needed to qualify them based on Medicare part B guidelines. Having all this information in place before service begins can help better prepare patients for any out of pocket costs.
My proudest accomplishment thus far in my career is to be published. I had the to opportunity to work on a research project. An abstract was published this year and accepted by ASPEN for Clinical Nutrition Week. In my spare time, I am working on my MS in Sports and Performance Nutrition.
As someone with many interests, I think it’s important to remember you can have as many (or as few) career paths as you want, just never undervalue yourself along the way. This has been my favorite piece of advice given to me so far.