By: Nikki Nies
The number of accomplishments Ms. Kong,MS, RD has made within her short dietetic career as a Registered Dietitian at the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center are an inspiration and deserves recognition from fellow colleagues and dietetic students. Registered Dietitian (RD),Ms. Kong juggles multiple obligations at the Great Boston Chinese Golden Age Center: individual nutrition counseling and group nutrition education, monthly menu planning, recipe analysis and program outreach by writing bilingual nutrition articles for the local newspaper. However, she states her primary role is in quality control and monitoring for the meal and nutrition counseling and education.
Ms. Kong started studying nutrition in 2008. After completion of undergraduate work, she received her master’s degree from Tufts University. Ms. Kong has made quick strides, graduating from the Sodexo/Southcoast Hospital Group internship in New Bedford, Massachusetts last May and made the transition from intern to influential RD. Her youth gives her an advantage, with the ability to stay on top of evolving trends and her passion to give the utmost service to the Boston community is evident.
As a newly recognized RD, receiving her credential in September, Ms. Kong has been able to utilize her role in the workplace–“…the job provides me a great variety and balance of different roles-recipe developing, nutrition analysis, public speaking, individual counseling, writing, managing, outreaching and networking.”
Working at the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center gives Ms. Kong first hand experience working with Chinese Americans who could benefit from nutrition education. The most common diet restrictions that Ms. Kong works with are heart healthy and diabetic diets. Although, many elders have restrictions or certain dietary needs, the reward and satisfaction outweighs the necessary hard work. For example, Ms. Kong tries to balance the high consumption of sodium in relation to the lack of dairy in many Chinese American elders diet. She also finds herself educating and debunking health myths that may stem from a language barrier.
Ms. Kong expressed the importance and usefulness of analyzing client’s comments and complaints. To stay relevant and to best cater to client’s needs, there is an annual survey distributed and Ms. Zhang asks for client feedback during nutrition counseling sessions. To stay relevant on health information, Ms. Kong reads local newspapers and browses major Chinese websites for health news. Whenever clients bring in information she does not know, she takes it upon herself to learn more about that topic.
It is great to have an advocate not only for great nutrition, but one that caters to Chinese American needs. Sometimes Ms. Kong has to do her own translating of nutrition education materials from Chinese as she receives information from the Hong Kong and Taiwan Dietetic Association. Most of the relevant information she finds is in regards to traditional food, such as Yu Choy, turnip cake and Chinese sausage.
Ms. Kong credits her excellent communication skills, which include active listening and her interpersonal skills that have helped her get to where she is today. She is in no danger of becoming complacent, reading all mediums of relevant health information. Current dietetic students can learn a great deal from Ms. Kong. Ms. Kong sees a place for RD’s in the job market, especially to guide elders to credible sources of health information, since there’s a vast amount of unverifiable information. Ms. Kong reiterates the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggestions to improve chances of matching to a dietetic internship—great GPA and getting as much experience as possible. Various experiences not only makes an applicant a well rounded candidate, but allows one to see what opportunities and concentrations one would like to pursue.
Thank you Ms. Kong for your sharing your story!