Meet Annie Goldsmith! Annie is a registered dietitian with her own private practice, Annie Goldsmith RD, LLC! Annie helps her clients to experience “food freedom” through nutritional education. Hear about this expert RD’s experiences and what advice she has to share!
Tell us about your path to becoming a dietitian.
Registered Dietitian was not my original career path. My undergraduate degree is in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, a field I was drawn to because it represents the intersection of human biology and psychology – incredibly fascinating! Ultimately it was not the right fit for me (too much solitary time spent in research labs), so I returned to school to become an RD. Dietetics was a natural choice as food is so intimately connected to both our physical and psychological selves, and I was still passionate about exploring that space where the two intersect. I completed my internship through Winthrop University, and became credentialed in June of 2013.
Can you tell us about your nutrition career to date?
I began my career in dietetics working in a clinical setting at a small hospital. I also had the opportunity to work for the hospital’s outpatient diabetes center teaching diabetes prevention classes and doing individual counseling, which I really enjoyed. But along the way I discovered what I love to do most is help people heal their relationship with food. Last year I took the plunge and opened my own practice so that I could stay uncompromisingly true to my nutrition philosophy, and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience! Around the same time I was fortunate to also begin to work part-time at the Renfrew Center of Charlotte (an eating disorders treatment center) at their IOP level of care. I have found working part-time in these two settings has been a great balance for me.
Tell us all about your private practice: What is your approach to nutritional care?
I specialize in working with clients with eating disorders and disordered eating, though I also love to work with diabetes patients and those with other general nutrition concerns. At the core of my practice are the Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating philosophies; I believe in taking a non-diet, weight neutral approach to helping people discover the internal wisdom of their own bodies. This is often difficult to do after a lifetime of dieting or disordered eating! Ultimately I love to see my clients experience “food freedom” and really embrace the basic nutrition tenants of Balance, Variety, and Moderation. Along the way I help them to accept the body they are in while they are practicing healthy behaviors, even if that body does not fit the mold of the cultural ideal.
What advice do you have for dietetic students just graduating / completing their internships?
What I find so incredible about the RD career path is that there is such a diversity of professional opportunities within the field! While everyone’s needs will be different, here are a few things I think all new RDs can benefit from:
- Continue learning. In my opinion, passing the RD exam simply signifies the next phase in the dietitian’s educational journey. As I honed in on my interests within the field, I pursued continuing education on topics that would help my build my expertise, and sought opportunities that would help me learn through experience. I am also always working my way through the stack of nutrition books on my desk! I continue to pursue learning opportunities whenever I can, and as my knowledge grows and evolves, so does my practice.
- Make professional connections. It goes without saying that networking with other RDs is essential, but keep in mind allied health professionals such as MDs, therapists, OTs, PTs, personal trainers and speech therapists (to name just a few!). These can be great referral sources. As an eating disorders dietitian, many of my referrals come from mental health therapists, so building those relationships has been essential to my practice.
- Find a mentor. I have had the great fortune to find some fantastic, experienced RDs who have offered support and guidance as I have built (and continue to build) my career. If you work within a larger company this may be a manager or co-worker, but if you are going into private practice finding a mentor can be more difficult. Many seasoned RDs offer professional supervision, and while it is an additional expense, it’s well worth the investment.
How do you think technology is changing the way dietitians are practicing care? Why are you excited about using Healthie?
There are many ways in which technology is opening doors for RDs. Telehealth allows us to reach people who may otherwise not have access to our services. We are able to market our services and share information to a wider audience. I’m excited about Healthie because it’s really helped me in many aspects of my practice! I love that clients can fill out all of their paperwork through the platform before their first appointment. Since I’ve already collected most of the facts beforehand, I can really focus on building rapport with my client in the first session and conduct the assessment in a more conversational way. I also appreciate that Healthie is easily customizable and the tech support is great. One other feature I really like is that I am able to fax my notes to other members of the care team with just a few clicks. This saves me lots of time I would be otherwise writing emails or making phone calls! Overall it’s been a great tool for improving the professionalism, time management, and organization of my practice.
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