February 6, 2013

Carrie King seeks to make research less intimidating for dietitians

Carrie King is a term associate professor in the Community & Technical College’s Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Dietetics & Nutrition Division. She holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition from South Dakota State University, participated in a dietetic internship at the University of Northern Colorado, and completed a master’s degree in food and nutrition management at Oregon State University.

The Alaska Dietetic Association named her Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2009. In addition, the American Dietetic Association awarded her Outstanding Educator for Dietetic Educators of Practitioners in Area I (a seven-state region) representing Dietetic Internships in 2006. She received her doctoral degree in health sciences with a nutrition specialization from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in January 2013. She discusses her doctoral research and why she is excited about her role as a dietetics and nutrition educator.

Carrie King received her
doctoral degree in January 2013.
Q: You recently completed your doctoral program in health sciences with a nutrition focus. Can you share a little bit about your doctoral research topic and why you selected it?
A: My dissertation research compared two educational interventions to increase registered dietitian (RD) research involvement. It originated in observing the struggles of my students, interns and RD colleagues with learning and applying research knowledge and skills. Some RDs embrace research and weave research activities within their role as a practitioner with enthusiasm and confidence.

Others seem to avoid it and feel intimidated at the thought of having to interpret the results section of a research article. I wanted to “intervene” to help RDs feel more confident in their ability to participate in research activities as part of their role as a practitioner. My thought was that if RD practitioners are more involved in research activities, there will be opportunities for students and interns to learn how to integrate research activities into their role as a future practitioner.

Q: What first sparked your interest in health sciences?
A: I was drawn to the program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey because it was an interdisciplinary program with a nutrition specialization for RDs. This program has an excellent reputation for rigor, and I was able to complete it via distance, while remaining in Alaska.

Q: In a word, how would you describe how you felt after defending your dissertation?
A: Disbelief.

Q: What excites you about your work as a UAA faculty member?
A: I believe the work accomplished within the professions of dietetics and nutrition is very important—helping people achieve their best possible health status. The opportunity to educate future dietetics and nutrition professionals ensures the longevity of these professions. It’s extremely rewarding to see students set and reach their professional goals.

Q: What is your background prior to joining CTC?
A: I was a clinical dietitian working in hospitals and clinics. I specialized in diabetes management and pediatric nutrition.

Q: Are you originally from Alaska? What do you most enjoy about the state?
A: I am a fourth-generation Alaskan, born in Anchorage and raised in Sitka. I love our Alaskan mindset of independence, sustainability and strength.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
A: My hobbies have been severely limited due to the time demands of completing my research. I plan to work on planting a consumable garden this summer and spend more time enjoying my family!