Many times in my professional life I have had to defend my MPH
degree. Yes, I understand it is not common like a MD, JD, MS or an
MBA, but it certainly doesn't mean miles per hour. MPH stands for
Master's in Public Health, which I proudly put behind my name. It
is not for show; it explains that I have furthered my education
beyond my undergrad degree and have credibility in public health
My area of focus was in healthcare administration and
maternal/infant health education. My career path did not take me
where I intended after I graduated, but definitely grateful the
experiences and where it placed me in life. I am sure many of you
But what bothers me is when I have to defend my MPH to other
professionals, including dietitians. The one thing I do not
proclaim to be is an RD (Registered Dietitian) or a "Nutritionist."
The term "Nutritionist" is a bogus term that anyone can use, even
if they read a nutrition article online. I've had rude
professionals attack me virtually, many of whom I have ignored. Yet
I've had RDs pay me for my knowledge. Issues I have been discussing
for years is now in the forefront. RDs are taking a stand and have
formed their own group called Dietitians
for Professional Integrity.
A Master's in Public Health degree focuses on the various
practices of public health as opposed to researching or teaching.
We have the ability to integrate our interdisciplinary schools of
thought based on science, research, history of public health and
the future of public health. Early on, I knew with my undergrad in
Exercise Physiology, I wanted to take a proactive approach to
health care and bridge the gap between public health and preventive
medicine through lifestyle and wellness choices. My MPH has fully
allowed me to do just that.
What I do is research to better my clients' health, help my
son's digestive issues and better myself as a professional. The
info I provide to you is purely for educational purposes, not to
treat or diagnose anyone.
I am a health educator. I also do meet privately for one-on-one
lifestyle and wellness consults, because I cover more than just
nutrition. I will refer a person elsewhere when an issue is out of
my scope of practice and have many times unofficially "diagnosed"
people with the illness or ailment bothering them.
I had one doctor tell me I should have gone to med school. I
take that as a compliment.
In February, I had the privilege to speak at a conference for
future fitness professionals at a local university. I was invited
to speak as a local professional and I chose the topic that I have
spoken on before. When I introduced myself I believe I was clear
what my MPH was and what I do. One of the comments really got to
me. It said, "She is not an RD and most of her research is
self-researched. I think she scared a lot of people in this
First of all, if I scared you, I made you think. When I opened
up I said I was going to make them think differently about their
food and vitamin supplements, it wasn't meant to be a scare tactic.
When you force someone to think outside what they've been taught,
change happens. I want to empower you to question everything you
put into your mouth.
Second, yes I research what I put into my PowerPoint
presentation myself, so I guess it was "self-researched," but
doesn't mean I made it up either.
Third, I know I am not an RD and don't pretend to be one. Even
the Cleveland Clinic allows someone with an MPH to give out
nutritional advice, up there with RDs and MDs, so that makes me
feel a little better.
There you have it, why I proudly put MPH behind my name. And if
you want more out-of-the-box health info, be sure to follow me on
Jasmine blogs to inspire you to make positive, healthy changes.
See more of Jasmine's stories here.
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