Meet Charles Williams, MANNA Intern

I began my schooling back in 2004 at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. During my time at Plattsburgh I attained my Bachelors in Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. Following my graduation from SUNY Plattsburgh, in August of 2008, I began my dietetic internship at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. During my nine months at Stony Brook, I completed nearly 1,000 hours of supervised practice that allowed me to sit for my RD (Registered Dietitian) exam. In September of 2009, I became a Registered Dietitian. My first job after attaining the RD credential was at WIC (women, infants and children), which is a supplemental nutrition program providing food vouchers and nutrition education to pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under 5 and infants.  After 14 months at WIC, in 2011, I moved to Philadelphia and began at my current employer. Currently, I work as a Long-Term Care clinical dietitian at Willow Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation.  In 2014, I decided that it was time to start working towards advancing my education and career. At this point I enrolled in the Master’s in Public Health (MPH) program at West Chester University with a focus in nutrition. Earlier this year, after nearly three years of graduate instruction, it was time to find a place to put my attained skills and knowledge to the test. I had to find a site for my Applied Learning Experience. After considering what I wanted to get out of the Applied Learning Experience, I decided that I would look to MANNA for the opportunity. MANNA graciously approved my placement and it has been a wonderful experience thus far.

At MANNA, my number one priority has been to complete my major project. This project, which meets the needs of my schooling requirements and MANNA’s requests was to complete research into the Health-Related Quality of Life of MANNA participants. More specifically, how the MANNA meals program improves the Quality of Life of participants. Two different surveys were used, one created by myself and a team of people here at MANNA, and the other, the widely used SF-12 survey tool. This research is helpful to MANNA in determining if their current practices are helping to meet the mission of the organization. Results of these surveys can provide insight into potential improvements. The research has indicated that both surveys used are worthwhile to MANNA and evaluating the effectiveness of the meals program going forward. It is my hope that MANNA will be able to use this research as a starting point for future evaluation of their meals program. Much of MANNA’s funding comes from grants. In applying for grants, it is helpful to have data that shows that the meals program is improving participants health-related quality of life. If MANNA can show that their meals program works, it will be helpful in securing future funding, especially as MANNA plans to eventually expand its mission to serve more people.

In addition to my major project, MANNA has provided me with additional experiences. Working under the supervision of the MANNA Registered Dietitians, I have led discussions on vegetarian foods/vegetarian eating at two different HIV/AIDS support groups, I created monthly nutrition tips to accompany the meals deliveries, and helped the MANNA dietitians with their workload. These experiences were crucially important as I improved my public health skills. My Applied Learning Experience at MANNA was more than I could have imagined. In my brief time here, I feel that I have contributed to the future of this organization, and I couldn’t have asked for a more meaningful outcome. Thanks MANNA!

September Nutrition Tip & Recipe

By waking up to a healthy breakfast, you have taken the first step in providing your body with its daily nutritional needs to keep it in good health.  Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start your day right!

Starting your day without breakfast is like trying to drive a car without fuel.  We have all been told, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but, why is it so important for adults and children to have breakfast every day?

  • By the time you wake up in the morning, it has been 8-12 hours since you have last eaten and your energy levels are low. Breakfast provides your body with the energy it needs to start the day.
  • Breakfast helps you stay alert and can improve your mood and ability to pay attention.
  • Eating a well-balanced breakfast improves your overall health and well-being. You will be less tired and sleepy in the mid-morning hours.
  • Children that start their day off with a healthy meal are more creative, do better in class, perform better on tests, and have fewer behavior problems.
  • Adults who eat breakfast tend to do better at work, snack less, and get more nutrients each day than adults who do not eat breakfast.
  • Research shows skipping breakfast does not help you lose weight. In fact, people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight

Good Breakfast Tips

  •  Try to include foods from at least 3 different food groups for breakfast. Example: 1 cup low-fat yogurt (dairy group), 1 medium orange (fruit group), and 1 slice of whole-wheat toast (grain group).
  • Plan ahead by stocking health and quick options so that you don’t have an excuse to skip breakfast.
  • Make sure to include some protein to help keep you satisfied longer and to keep you mentally alert
  • Keep breakfast simple by eating a quick bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana or a slice of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.
  • Save some money be making your breakfast at home instead of eating out.