What inspired me to start my private practice
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
I started working with dialysis patients in 2014. I attend many conferences every year to keep up with my competencies as a renal (kidney) dietitian. Over the years, I've noticed a common theme that comes up at these events: nutrition is a powerful, cost-effective and well-tolerated treatment for kidney disease yet it's extremely underutilized. By eating a certain way you can slow the progression of your kidney disease, improve blood pressure, maintain your body's acid-base balance, improve gut issues and more! The majority of people I have worked with on dialysis had never met with a dietitian prior to starting dialysis.
One of the (many) reasons kidney disease patients are not seeking dietary management is that there seems to be a lack of specialists in renal nutrition in outpatient care. Yes, all dietitians have knowledge of the basic concepts of dietary needs for kidney disease as this is part of our general training. Just as doctors specialize in certain areas (you see an oncologist if you have cancer, a dermatologist if you have issues involving the skin), dietitians can also specialize in specific areas. It is unlikely that one dietitian can be an expert at providing medical nutrition therapy to all conditions and patient populations given the vast and ever-growing science of nutrition.
In 2021, after working with dialysis patients for 7 years, I decided to take a huge jump in my career. I wanted to start a private practice to help people avoid or delay the need for dialysis. Over the years, I’ve heard so many inspiring stories of people who were able to stop the decline of their kidney function through dietary interventions. In April 2021, I made a goal for myself to become a board certified specialist in renal nutrition. When I signed up for the exam, there were only 7 board certified renal dietitians in Massachusetts. In May 2021 I passed the exam, making it 8 renal nutrition specialists for the state! Then I got straight to work on my private practice.
Dietary change shouldn’t be something to be intimidated by – my goal is to make nutrition therapy understandable and attainable. I have incorporate many of the principles of renal nutrition into my own life as it has benefits beyond the kidneys!