by Kendal Ecker, MS, RD, LD
“When a (career) opportunity feels good and fits good, take it.” Nutrition and dietetics offers an abundance of opportunity and no one knows that any better than Suzy Weems, PhD, RD, LD. She is an educator, a leader, and motivator for change in public policy. Suzy began her career as a dietitian consultant in long term care in Lubbock, TX, made her way into sports nutrition, and is currently serving as a Delegate to the American Dietetic Association and the Vice Chair of the Legislative and Public Policy Committee (LPPC) while also working as the chair of the nutrition department at Baylor University in Waco, TX. How did she make the journey to where she is today and where is she heading in the future?
Suzy is a proud mother of four children, which encouraged her to focus her career toward education as she felt that teaching could impact a larger group of people. As she was seeking a PhD at Texas Tech University, she worked in private practice and as a consultant dietitian while raising her children. After completing her advanced education, she made a move to Nacogdoches, TX where she became involved in the NCAA athletic program. There she taught a variety of nutrition courses while working with the athletes competing in track, soccer, basketball and football. As her children grew up, Suzy became involved in the local dietetic association and soon found herself on committees at the state level. It was not long until she ran for the office of vice president elect of TAND and won.
Last year she made her most recent move to Waco, TX to work at Baylor University and she has taken on the role of being one of the two Texas delegates to ADA while also serving as the vice chair for ADA’s LPPC. Politics was never one of her focuses throughout most of her career previously, but now she feels that she is fortunate to be able to make an impact for the profession through legislation and public policy. Her goal is to assist in making the little steps necessary to create more jobs for RDs through policy development. She wants the members of the dietetics profession to realize the value of ADA and their role in making policies to help improve the profession as a whole by increasing the number of jobs, salaries, and privileges in the medical field. All in all, Suzy has never had a lack of things to do as a dietitian. She now has three grandchildren and is looking to the future to further develop Baylor’s nutrition programs and continue focusing on public policy with a goal to get a practice act in Texas in 2007. The field of dietetics is full of opportunity and Suzy’s journey through many areas of dietetics has been diverse, but in the end “dietetics is all about people.”