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Debbie Brinckman,

MS, RDN, CD-N


SNAP-Ed @ the University of Saint
Joseph
Mike Ouellette & Peter
Zapata

Educational Background
Dual B.S. in Food Science + Nutrition from Drexel University
1984-1988
Masters in Nutrition + Internship at University of Saint Joseph
2009-2012
Internship was 8-9 months

Jobs Held in the Field


R&D Project Manager at
Keystone Foods
1988-1996. Product
development for food
industry giants like
McDonald's (developed
whole-muscle cuts and
the McLean)

Jobs Held in the Field (continued)


SNAP-Ed program in USJ Nutrition Dept.
Started as student in 2009
Positions have included Nutrition Educator, Adjunct Professor,
DPH Grant Program Evaluator
Became full time Grant Manager in 2015
Private practice
Intermittently, 2012-present
Home office

Current Position & Credentials


SNAP-Ed Grant Manager
Responsible for running health coaching program, environmental
initiative (healthy pantry initiative), bookkeeping
MS, Nutrition
CD-N
Health Coach certification

Description of Facility

University of Saint Joseph, Nutrition Department, SNAP-Ed program


The University of Saint Joseph is an independent not-for-profit
organization, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1932 in the Catholic
tradition
90-acre campus in West Hartford
The program trains interns and pairs them with an RD or experienced
nutrition educator to present healthy eating messages as part of the
CT DPHs SNAP-Ed program

Current Job Duties


Oversees program and participates as a Nutrition Educator
Responsible for
running health coaching program
environmental initiative (healthy pantry initiative)
bookkeeping

Example Day
No typical day
Can work from home, can work in office, involved with all parts of the
program
Week-to-week: coaching clients, overseeing coaching/ensuring
paperwork is filled out, developing healthy pantry initiative

Interaction with Professionals


Employs RD's, collaborates with Urban Alliance, FoodShare, etc.

Interaction with Students & Interns


Program trains students and interns from USJ and UNH
As a Nutrition Educator in SNAP-Ed, she is paired with an intern for
education sessions

Positives & Negatives

Makes a huge
impact
Rewarding

Doesn't get to
affect the
statewide
initiative

Challenges
Dealing with the state, regulations
The struggles of working on political side of the job

Why be an RD?
Really likes to help people
Loves to show people you can
make healthy food taste good

Most challenging aspect


about the field of dietetics?
Dietitians dont get the
respect they deserve. Other
health professionals (nurses,
doctors) are in our
sandbox doing parts of our
job we should be doing,
lessening demand for our
specific educated
professionals.

Favorite Food? Least Favorite Food?


Favorite:
Meatless lasagna

Least favorite:
Liver/organ meats

Lightning Round
Q: How effective do you think the SNAP-Ed programs are, and what
would you change?
A: Somewhat effective. SNAP should be like WIC, get certain number of
dollars to spend ONLY on healthy things.
Q: In her experience, is there a disconnect between food science and
nutrition?
Yes, big disconnect between food science and nutrition
McDonalds customers do not want healthy options
Community nutrition is important
Nutrition education in public school system is key to change

More questions
Q: Do you feel like your internship prepared you for your current
position?
A: Yes but I wish it had more community nutrition incorporated into it.
Q: Is this position a stepping stone?
A: My dream job would be to be a corporate wellness coordinator.
Q: What would you say was your most challenging obstacle to becoming
an RD?
A: Getting all the required prerequisites to get an internship.