By Danny Freedman
Tuesday, September 6, 2005 4:18 PM
CATHE BAVIDO-ARRAGE, 32
JOB: Nutritionist and case manager at Medstar Research Institute in Southeast D.C.
SALARY: $40,000 to $45,000
EDUCATION: Bachelor's in human environmental sciences from the University of Tennessee at Martin; master's in nutrition science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville
WHAT SHE DOES: Bavido-Arrage works to change the eating and exercise habits of adults participating in a nationwide clinical study on diabetes. Through one-on-one meetings and group classes, she makes sure 70 of the site's roughly 140 participants understand the science of diabetes; she also teaches them to eat healthier and squeeze in exercise. One key is finding a person's "trigger" -- like the "smell of hot popcorn in the movie theater" -- then coaxing a balance. "If you tell someone they can't have something, they're going to crave it even more," she said. "So having a little's OK." All the while, she's also administering or monitoring the tests needed for the study.
WOULD YOU WANT HER JOB? Providing health care is tough enough, but can you provide customer service? Researchers need to keep their subjects happy. "We're available to our participants whenever they call," said Bavido-Arrage (she keeps her schedule fluid for when they show up "a day or a week early"). Collecting data -- plus juggling requests for test results from physicians -- requires a high level of organization.
HOW YOU CAN GET HER JOB: You'll need to be certified as a registered dietitian through the American Dietetic Association. Requirements include completing an ADA-approved undergrad dietetics program and an approved internship or other supervised practice, as well as passing a national exam. In the District and Maryland, you'll also need to apply for a state license, said an ADA spokeswoman.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: ADA's site (eatright.org) lists approved schools and work programs; D.C.'s Board of Dietetics and Nutrition (doh.dc.gov) and Maryland's Board of Dietetic Practice (dhmh.state.md.us/html/proflicm.htm) have details for obtaining state licenses.
This article first appeared in the Express on August 1, 2005.