Nutrition Program Director Receives Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award

National award recognizes exemplary educators who prepare future practitioners

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College of Applied Science and Technology

Elizabeth Kmiecinski

Elizabeth Kmiecinski, co-director of the nutrition management program at Rochester Institute of Technology, received the 2009—2010 Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award. Kmiecinski is being recognized for her work preparing undergraduate students for careers in the dietetic field.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” says Kmiecinski, a registered dietitian and associate professor in the RIT College of Applied Science and Technology. “The award recognizes the program and the great students in the program. It’s a pleasure to work with them. They are bright and hardworking; these students make the program the great success that it is today.”

This is the second time an RIT educator/practitioner has been recognized by the national Dietetic Educators of Practitioners Group, a section of the American Dietetic Association, and award sponsors. Each year the group selects one educator from each of the seven districts across the country that make up the organization. Recipients are recognized for their significant contributions to educating future practitioners. Barbra Cerio-Iocco, co-director of the RIT nutrition management program, received the award in 1999.

Kmiecinski began her academic career at RIT in 1988 and teaches courses in nutrition, food management and quality assessment, and she oversees the senior projects. She coordinates and teaches the community nutrition course where students participate in lecture/discussion classes as well as a community practicum. Kmiecinski and Cerio-Iocco teach an RIT credit-bearing course, Nutrition and the Mediterranean Diet, for Wegmans employees. The class is held at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua, N. Y.

Prior to this, Kmiecinski served as a registered dietitian at Ohio State University Hospital and Highland Hospital in Rochester. She continues with consulting activities in the areas of dietetic education, sports nutrition, clinical nutrition and wellness.

“That’s the beauty of this field,” Kmiecinski says. “There are so many different things you can do.”

Along with Cerio-Iocco and Linda Underhill, a professor in the College of Applied Science and Technology, the group recently completed a three-year grant to develop a curriculum and train several hundred providers for the national Women, Infants and Children program, also referred to as WIC. Another of their research activities, which has involved undergraduate nutrition students, is in the area of diabetes, specifically nutrition education strategies for individuals with Type 2 diabetes in Latino and African-American populations. “Research is a team effort,” she adds.

Kmiecinski received her undergraduate degree in food and nutrition from Ohio State University. Her graduate degree in clinical nutrition and registered dietitian credentials were conferred at the University of Kentucky and the Charleston Area Medical Center in Charleston, W. Va.