Johnson Beth-El celebrates 2024 National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and is dedicated to the celebration of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and educating consumers about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating habits, which includes learning about food production and sustainability. 

This year’s celebration theme is “Beyond the Table,” which addresses the farm-to-fork aspect of nutrition, from food production and distribution to navigating grocery stores and farmers markets — and even home food safety and storage practices. It also describes the various ways we eat — not only around a dinner table, but also on the go, in schools and restaurants, at games and events. This theme also includes sustainability, for instance, decreasing food waste from school and work to home and beyond.

“We have a nationally and internationally known team of nutrition faculty and clinicians at UCCS,” said Kevin Laudner, professor and Dean. “Students gain a wide variety of knowledge and skills working with the Johnson Beth-El faculty. Our Nutrition and Dietetics program and students not only impact the food systems and sustainable practices on campus, but also across Colorado. Students work with farmers, and producers to provide access to and education on quality, nutritious food.”

Let’s meet the Johnson Beth-El nutrition faculty, researchers and practitioners we have on campus: Sean Svette, Andrea Hutchins, Margaret Harris, Nanna Meyer, Jackie Berning, Steven Ferguson, Liz Albert, Jenn Gibson, and Frances Treat (Clinical RDN at the Lane Center). They are all experts in the field of nutrition and specialize in various aspects of sustainability, community, clinical and sport and exercise nutrition.

Liz Albert, MS, RD collaborates with department faculty on research and publications. She recently published a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Jackie Berning, PhD, RDN serves as the chair of the Health Sciences Department at UCCS. Berning’s expertise is in Sports Nutrition. She was the sports dietitian for the Denver Broncos for 25 years, the Cleveland Indians for 18 years and the Colorado Rockies for 11 years. Berning has consulted with the University of Colorado Boulder Athletic Department and was on staff as the Sport Dietitian for USA Swimming at the Olympic Training Center. She is currently consulting with USA Lacrosse and the UCCS Athletic Department. Berning’s research interest lies in the role of nutrition in human performance as well as bone density in female athletes.

Steven L Ferguson, PhD, RD is interested in the balance of leading an active lifestyle and nutrition.

New to the team, Jennifer Gibson, MS, RD, CSSD. Gibson is an internationally recognized sport dietitian with 18 years of experience in elite sport. Her experience includes working with the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Rapids MLS (current), Chicago Beas (2015-22), and the U.S. Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic sport (2006-2015). 

Margaret Harris, PhD teaches her students about dietary supplement literacy, functional foods, the gut microbiome, functional nutrition and medicine. Harris also takes students to the UCCS farm to learn about herbs and other naturally grown resources for wellness and healing.

Andrea Hutchins, PhD, RDN focuses her teaching on clinical and functional nutrition. Her research investigates the relationship between functional foods, such as pulses, nuts and flax, and optimal health as well as chronic disease risk.

Nanna Meyer PhD, RDN started her worked in Olympic sport nutrition 1996 and has been a strong contributor to applied sport nutrition research. Meyer worked with the United States Olympic Committee and supported athletes at five Olympic games. Meyer was a founding member of Sports Dietetics USA and PINES and a member of several International Olympic Committee Medical Commission Working groups related to athlete care, nutrition, and relative energy deficiency. As the world’s urgency to address climate change and health is rising, Meyer’s time is now largely devoted to food system transformation and a multitude of challenges and opportunities when addressing food through health and sustainability.

Through Meyer’s nutrition learning experiences, she links farmers to engaged eaters, using local food literacy concepts of UCCS’s Sustainability, Wellness & Learning (SWELL) initiative, encompassing a local food eatery (Food Next Door) with educational outreach (The Flying Carrot), Farmhouse Fridays with seed-to-plate learning for students, Farm-to-Institution research, and UCCS Grain School.

Sean Svette MSc, RDN is an UCCS alumni, instructor, and coordinator of the Nutrition and Dietetics program. He specializes in teaching about grain production and food system sustainability. He is one of the many organizers behind the annual Grain School events. Grain School invites Colorado farmers, makers, and producers together in an open forum to collaborate and problem-solve. Sean has worked on a variety of small-scale farms, urban gardens, and greenhouses. His work has been featured in local magazines and newspapers.

Finally, Frances Treat, RDN is a UCCS Health Sciences alumna and working as a Registered Dietitian (RD). After earning her bachelor’s degree at UCCS, she completed the UCCS ISPP Dietetic Internship and went on to become a Registered Dietitian in 2017. She has been working as an outpatient clinical dietitian for the UCCS HealthCircle Peak Nutrition Clinic for seven years, administering medical nutrition therapy to patients for a wide variety of medical conditions including nutrition therapy for obesity related disorders. Frances has prior inpatient clinical experience working in a hospital setting. She also had a prior professional career within the Department of Defense. Having changed careers later in life, Frances is now dedicated to educating her clients in nutrition and takes a proactive approach to health and wellness.

A registered dietitian can help you create healthy habits that are sustainable and suit your unique needs. There are so many career pathways for a registered dietitian (RD) or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). To learn more about the nutrition programs available at UCCS, visit us online at johnsonbethel.uccs.edu.

About Johnson Beth-El

In 2022, Johnson Beth-El along with CommonSpirit, launched an accredited Master of Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics program, now open for applications.

The new degree is the first Future Education Model program in the state of Colorado, and is an integrated two-year graduate program designed to provide students with an applied learning experience in preparation for a career as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).

Students will have access to the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center at UCCS, the university’s state-of-the-art facility containing expansive learning spaces and a nutrition teaching kitchen. In addition, the partnership will connect students with high-quality preceptors. Smaller ratios mean students receive individualized mentorship and support from a practicing professional and will continue a 40-year history of clinical teaching excellence. Johnson Beth-El’s nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The Clinical Simulation Learning Center is accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). The Master of Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics is the first Future Education Model (FEM) registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) program in Colorado and accredited by ACEND.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) became the first graduate athletic training program in Colorado when it was awarded CAATE accreditation in Spring 2020. The traditional Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program is ranked nationally by US News and World Report. The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences ranks #67 out of 681 national nursing programs. The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences is consistently ranked as a US News and World Report’s Top online Master’s in Nursing program for veterans. In 2022, we ranked #1 in the state of Colorado for veterans. 

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences has trained and educated the region’s health professionals and human performance professionals for over 120 years, and in 2022, celebrated 25 years with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS). At Johnson Beth-El, students are trained to meet the needs of a rapidly changing health care landscape by providing transformative, high-quality, and compassionate care.

Learn more about healthcare undergraduate and graduate degree programs with Johnson Beth-El at johnsonbethel.uccs.edu.

About National Nutrition Month®

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month®, held annually in March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. The Academy’s National Nutrition Month® press releases feature information for the media on activities and messages that the Academy highlights every March — along with events and initiatives around RDN Day and NDTR Day.

National Nutrition Month® started in 1973 as National Nutrition Week, and it became a month-long observance in 1980 in response to growing interest in nutrition.

The theme for National Nutrition Month® 2024 is “Beyond the Table.”