1. What is your position and/or role at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare? I am a Pediatric Dietitian at Gillette. I work mostly with patients on the ketogenic diet, from initiation in the hospital to their follow up outpatient visits. My other main role is being part of the multidisciplinary feeding team at Gillette. I travel to all the other Gillette sites so that we can offer feeding therapy for families across the metro. I remember vividly one of the first patients I started on the ketogenic diet here at Gillette, about 15 years ago. He had severe seizures from a brain injury and was not verbal. While hospitalized on the 2nd day on the diet, he began to wimper a little and I remember feeling sad because I thought he was sad. But his mom was elated that he was showing emotion for the first time in his life, so she started crying and then I started to cry. Together we shared a really special, emotional moment together. He left the hospital seizure free, and continued to develop cognitively once his seizures were managed. Another favorite moment is in feeding clinic, when I have shared in the joy of a parent watching their child eat something for the first time, or applying a new feeding skill they have just mastered. It doesn’t really get more inspiring than that.
2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Outside of Gillette, I like to take advantage of all the sporting, arts and cultural events the Twin Cities has to offer. I really like going to MN Vikings games and the shows at the Children’s Theatre are phenomenal. In the summer I try to go to all the arts festivals around town and visit all the beautiful parks here, like Minnehaha Falls and Lebanon Hills. I also like to spend time in the kitchen, cooking meals from scratch. I read cookbooks like novels and find it relaxing to try new recipes with unusual ingredients or cuisine that is traditional in other countries.
3. Do you have any children or pets? I have 2 sons, ages 7 and 9. They are very active and keep me young at heart. With 2 boys, we have had lots of “pets” in our home over the years including a bunny named Rosie and a frog named Joey. We hope to get a puppy at Christmastime and have already named her Penny. We chose this name because my youngest son wished on a ‘penny’ at a fountain at the Mall of America that he could have a dog, so it seemed fitting we would name her Penny.
4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? We love to travel as a family and I would really like to take my boys to Honduras. My dad and husband go there every year to build houses for those less fortunate, and I think it is vital to expose our kids to a different way of life and instill in them a value of helping others. I also want to go to Liverpool England next fall for the 4th International Symposium for Dietary Therapies for Epilepsy and other Neurological Disorders. Thanks to Gillette, I have been able to attend the previous 3 conferences and I have learned so much about making the ketogenic diet a useful treatment option for our families.
5. What is one fun fact about you? I am a music junkie! I especially love live music and going to concerts. My favorite concert experience was seeing U2 at the TCF stadium a couple years ago. It was raining and stormy, which added a unique mood to the event that I will never forget.