Recognizing our RDs

by Jamie Shuster

Registered dietitianToday is Registered Dietitian Day, which provides the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the great work our RDs do here at DHEC Public Health.

RDs have degrees in dietetics, nutrition, public health or a related field and work in many different roles to ensure that people understand what they are eating and the impacts that food decisions have on their health. In South Carolina, RDs also must complete an accredited, supervised dietetic internship, pass a national exam, and attain a license to practice from LLR.

Here at DHEC, our RDs provide a variety of services including:

  • offering medical therapy for our clients with complex medical conditions like diabetes
  • working with families to help provide specialized diets for children with metabolic disorders
  • helping parents use special equipment to feed children with a cleft lip or palate
  • helping WIC clients learn about nutrition, achieve a healthy weight, and encourage breastfeeding
  • assisting families and seniors with planning nutritious meals on a budget through the SNAP nutrition education program
  • increasing access to locally-grown fruits and vegetables through the Farm to School program and farmers markets

All of our RDs provide invaluable public health services. Below are a few RDs who are known for going above and beyond in their efforts:

Sylvia Blyth, RD, LD – Sylvia works in our Lowcountry WIC program and has been successful in developing and initiating a children’s healthy weight class to help serve the large number of high-risk clients who are referred to her for obesity.  She successfully piloted the class at our North Area clinic in Charleston, which has now become a standard WIC class. Sylvia also has trained other DHEC RDs in this type of class, allowing us to expand the children’s weight management class to eight sites in our Lowcountry region.

La’Keisha Coker, RD – La’Keisha provides nutrition services across multiple program areas in our Florence County Health Department and serves as a liaison between nutrition and nursing management staff. She is known for her excellent rapport with clients and for her willingness to travel to multiple sites across the Pee Dee to ensure RD coverage in Florence, Hartsville, Darlington, Marlboro and Chesterfield Counties. Next week, she is volunteering her time to help lead free grocery store tours to help more people learn how to buy healthy foods on a budget.

Susan Collier, MS, RD, LD – Susan serves as our Midlands region’s Healthy South Carolina Initiative (HSCI) Coordinator and provides support to 12 HSCI-funded projects across 10 counties. Susan is known for her ability to work collaboratively with external partners and has played a vital role in helping communities make environmental changes that will improve residents’ access to healthy foods.

Kathy Tomashitis, MNS, RD, LD – Kathy has served as the director of our Newborn Metabolic Screening program since 1994 and is the only registered dietitian serving in this role in the U.S. Kathy and her team do a great job assisting community-based metabolic RDs to ensure that parents of infants with life-threatening metabolic conditions get the special formula their babies need to stay healthy.

Sandra Williams, MS, RD, LD, CDE – Sandra works in our Upstate WIC program and is known for her passion for her work and commitment to community. She frequently works with obese children and spends as much time as possible counseling parents about making healthier food and drink choices. Sandra receives many requests to share her knowledge with the community and has made successful presentations to groups such as LiveWell Greenville, ReGenesis Healthcare in Spartanburg, and a Black Girls Run event in Greenville.

Thank you to all of our RDs for your hard work. I hope everyone will take a moment to recognize the RDs in your office today.