With the start of a new year, the OAC is looking forward to an action-packed 2019! We’re also excited to welcome two new individuals to the OAC National Board of Directors, one of them being Nina Crowley, PhD, RDN, LD.
Dr. Crowley is a Registered Dietitian and Health Psychologist, as well as an advocate for patient-centered care and appropriate treatment for people with obesity. She leads the interdisciplinary metabolic and bariatric surgery team at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is passionate about working with patients to achieve difficult behavior changes and long-term weight maintenance after bariatric surgery.
Dr. Crowley has worked closely with the OAC for many years as a patient advocate, and we’re very excited to have her on our National Board of Directors!
Dr. Crowley: A Personal Note
I grew up on the East End of Long Island and went to Cornell University for my BS in Nutritional Science. I then came back to Long Island for my Masters in Healthcare Policy and Management and Dietetic Internship to become a Registered Dietitian at the State University of NY at Stony Brook. There, I took my first position with the WIC program.
In 2006, my husband and I moved south to Charleston where I started work at the Medical University of South Carolina. I began as an inpatient dietitian working with general medicine, but I quickly discovered that outpatient counseling was more for me. I then began working as a bariatric surgery dietitian in 2007.
I really enjoyed working closely with patients on their journey with surgical weight-loss and maintenance. I became interested in research after being part of a health behaviors study, so I wanted to learn more about psychology and counseling to help my patients with behavioral changes. This made me decide to start my PhD in Health Psychology – and it was then that I really developed my passion for understanding how nutrition, psychology and obesity related to overall health and weight bias.
But soon, rather than academia, I found myself attracted to leadership and administration. I then became my program’s Coordinator in 2016. I’ve really enjoyed taking my clinical experience to another level by coordinating a team of interdisciplinary experts and working to move our program forward!
Getting More Involved
Throughout my career, I’ve also become very involved with volunteer work for my local, state and national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I currently volunteer with the Weight Management Dietetic Practice Group of dietitians committed to helping patients with weight management, and I serve as the Policy and Advocacy Leader (PAL).
For the past 10 years, I’ve also developed a passion for policy. I’ve found that taking my clinical experience to policy makers is a critical part of our future! For example, in South Carolina, I helped develop a nutritional counseling policy for people with obesity who have Medicaid insurance. It’s one of the first policies where RDs can independently bill and be reimbursed!
I am also involved with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), and was recently elected to the Integrated Health Executive Committee where I received the LEAD Excellence in Nutrition Award for leadership, education, advancement and dedication in the field of bariatric surgery. I’m now working with weight management dietitians to increase their exposure to and interest in policy. I’ve been empowered to use social media as a tool for advocacy, and you can find me tweeting as @PsychoDietitian about:
- Nutritional and behavioral care for people with obesity
- Patient-centered care
- Promoting compassionate communication without bias
Engaging with the OAC
Q: What inspired you to work more closely with the OAC?
After presenting in 2016 at the OAC’s Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention about food addiction, I knew that this group was one I needed to be part of! The organization and quality of this meeting were phenomenal. Afterwards, I was so energized by working with patients as well as the OAC team, so I knew I’d be a good fit!
Q: What has the OAC taught you about helping people affected by obesity?
When I studied to get my PhD in Health Psychology while practicing as a bariatric dietitian, I focused on the intersection between nutrition, obesity and psychology. I was most interested in the research around weight bias. I realized how important this is to my patients, and I became passionate about reducing weight bias in healthcare providers to improve clinical care.
Q: How did you react upon being elected to the OAC National Board of Directors?
Being elected to the OAC National Board of Directors is one of my proudest moments! I’ve been thinking about what’s next for me, and I know I’ll figure that out during this term. I am passionate about advocacy, policy, and improved access to care for people with obesity. I know I’m in the right place with the OAC team, and I look forward to serving others!
To learn more about the OAC National Board of Directors, please CLICK HERE.