Barbara Capozzi, DO, CNS

Clinical Dean and Associate Professor of Family Medicine

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Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine-Harlem, New York

What has had the greatest impact on your career path in nutrition?  

My fortuitous landing in nutrition education started in 1994 when as a new full-time junior faculty at the NY College of Osteopathic Medicine, my academic dean and mentor offered me an opportunity to do a two-week mini fellowship in clinical nutrition. After the mini-fellowship, and expressing my praise of the program, I was appointed the clinical instructor and course director for the Clinical Nutrition course; charged with developing a curriculum and teaching material that I had just learned. Between the years of ’94 and 2001, the course was updated annually to include a variety of current topics. In addition, clinical students had an option to do a rotation in clinical nutrition. In clinical practice, I applied what I taught to patient care. The culmination of teaching nutrition in various programs was an organic and educational experience for me, both as an educator and a learner, and would not have been possible without the initial support and confidence of my dean/ mentor. I am grateful to him for having the greatest impact on my career path in nutrition. My subsequent academic teaching experiences included teaching nutrition in three other health professions programs. My advice to students is then to be open to new opportunities, within and external to your program and consider venturing beyond your comfort zone! As you progress in your training seek a mentor and pay it forward (commit to serving as a mentor and encourage your mentees to do the same). Be an active participant in a relevant professional society, maintain certification(s), and continue to strive for excellence. Find your niche in academia, clinical practice, research, or community service. Remember to express gratitude to all who have shown support and contributed to your professional development.