Laura Vollmer completed her MPH and DPD at UC Berkeley in 2015. She went on to the University of Oklahoma Dietetic Internship Program. Read below about what she’s been up to the past year!
Greetings from Oklahoma! Like a handful of other PHNers, I’m living my life in an unconventional order: which is to say, we’re all at work on our dietetic internships AFTER finishing our MPHs at Berkeley. And what an experience it has been. I’m stationed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, affiliated with the University of Oklahoma, and spending the bulk of my time at a large safety net hospital. As someone who came to nutrition from a food systems background, it’s been a trip to see so many of the things we covered in our MPH coursework realized.
For example, in classes and in conversations about how to talk about public health nutrition issues, we often focus on diabetes, especially as a way of framing conversations about diet and health beyond obesity. It may sound obvious – naive, even – but engaging with patients about food choices and dietary behaviors one on one has given me deeper insight into the importance of creating communities that support healthy eating and active living.
In the meantime, it’s been a lot of fun to see what public health and nutrition work looks like in a different corner of the US. Some things – a diabetes prevention camp for Native American youth, the great work of the ONIE (Oklahoma Nutrition Information and Education) Project – have been exciting; others – sodas sold for $.01 per ounce (opposite effect of the Berkeley soda tax?), patients with multiple diet-related chronic diseases – have been less uplifting. On the whole, I’m grateful for the training I got at Berkeley and excited to be wading into the world of clinical work!
–Laura Vollmer, MPH ’15