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Meet a real Dietitian and Nutritionist, Gloria Stables
Interview


Gloria Stables, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Dietician, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Gloria Stables, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., Dietician, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

1. I chose this career because…

2. My workday involves...

3. What I like best and least about my work is…

4. My career goals are…

5. When I’m not working, I like to…


1. I chose this career because…

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Gloria Stables presents her research synthesis to colleagues
Gloria Stables presents her research synthesis to colleagues

I chose to become a dietitian because I’ve always been interested in food and nutrition, especially in hospital settings. The undergraduate training provides for development of knowledge-based and interpersonal skills, that are crucial in being successful in a variety of careers. The potential career paths are many and varied.

As a sophomore in college, my advisor asked me to consider a new program the University was starting. It was a combined academic and internship 4-year program in nutrition and dietetics, instead of the 5-year traditional program. It was a good fit to my interests, and I was one of the 8 students selected for the program. After completing all course requirements, I passed the certification exam to become a registered dietitian.

Education
  • Bachelor of Science, Food and Nutrition, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
  • Master of Science, Human Nutrition, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Adult Learning, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

Work Experience

When I first came to the NIH, I worked as a research dietitian and did clinical work and counseling for patients in the Clinical Center. After that, I held various positions in research, and clinical management. Eventually I became the national program director for the 5 A Day for Better Health Program for the NCI. Now I work as an expert in research diffusion and dissemination for NCI.

2. My workday involves...

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Gloria Stables stands next to a 5 A Day Program poster
Gloria Stables stands next to a 5 A Day Program poster

My typical workday revolves around my major tasks and my projects.

Major Tasks
  • Acting as a science advisor to the 5 A Day program staff at the NCI. Currently I help review and synthesize the latest research to determine which interventions are effective in increasing vegetable and fruit consumption, to ultimately decrease cancer risk.
  • Researching and synthesizing by topic. Each week, I review the current scientific publications on a particular topic. I analyze and summarize the new data from many sources and provide this information to the pertinent health authorities.
  • Writing synthesis reports by topic based on current literature reviews
  • Coordinating research dissemination. I work in collaboration with other major health organizations to disseminate the latest research results on nutritional topics to health care practitioners across the country. It’s taking government funded research and getting it out to the people.

My Projects

One of my projects focuses on the 5 A Day program (http://www.5aday.gov/) which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). The goal of the program is to increase the public’s consumption of fruits and vegetables to 5-9 servings daily. I collect and synthesize all the new research data related to the 5 A Day program. This research includes all aspects from the testing of new products, to intervention plans, outcomes, and cost effectiveness. Once all the data is synthesized, it will be accessible on a new Web site called Cancer Control Planet (http://cancercontrolplanet.cancer.gov/). The site provides a portal to Web-based resources about evidence–based cancer control programs. This information can help public health practitioners develop and implement cancer control programs in their own communities.

I also work on another project called “Body and Soul”. This project is a collaborative effort between the NCI, the American Cancer Society, Emory University, and the University of North Carolina to disseminate effective cancer prevention and control programs. Two NCI-funded intervention studies – the Black Churches United for Better Health Project and the Eat for Life Study – showed positive effects in increasing daily fruit and vegetable consumption among African Americans. We combined the key components of these intervention plans and developed a revised plan along with helpful print materials and distributed them to African American Churches. The outcome data shows that this dissemination trial was successful at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. The 5 A Day Program is currently working with key African American organizations to implement “Body and Soul” nationwide.




3. What I like best and least about my work is…

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Gloria Stables and her colleagues discuss a research report
Gloria Stables and her colleagues discuss a research report

What I like best about my job is the chance to work with scientists who are engaged in cutting-edge research. Collaborating with colleagues in interpreting research results and determining implications for the health of the nation is fascinating to me.

What I like least about my work is that there is never enough time to do all you want to do. Sometimes there are not enough resources to do what you think should be done.

4. My career goals are…

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Gloria Stables sits at her desk
Gloria Stables sits at her desk

My career goals are to do more research. My dream job would include being part of a major research intervention program. I’d like to plan the protocol and methodology, and implement the research.

5. When I’m not working, I like to…

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Gloria Stables, with her daughter and horse at a riding competition
Gloria Stables, with her daughter and horse at a riding competition

When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my family. I attend our children’s sporting events. Recently I’ve taken up golf, and gotten back into horseback riding.


















































     
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