National award recognizes exemplary cancer center dietitian
(Baton Rouge, La.) Vadel Shivers, clinical dietitian at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, received the 2013 Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award from the Louisiana Dietetic Association at the LDA Annual Meeting in Lafayette, La. April 8-10, 2013. She received this honor in recognition for her work teaching and mentoring undergraduate students pursuing careers in the dietetic field.
Shivers is also the first registered dietitian in Louisiana to receive board certification in the specialty of oncology nutrition (CSO), and the only one in Baton Rouge with CSO certification. Her role at the Cancer Center is wide-ranging, from helping a patient deal with mouth sores or nausea to teaching nutrient-dense recipes that can be made in a blender and ingested through a feeding tube to help keep up a patient’s strength during treatment. An oncology nutritionist is a key member of the healthcare team assembled to provide integrated, comprehensive care for cancer patients.
The award criteria included demonstrated innovative teaching skills, techniques and mentoring as documented by letters from students and leadership. A student wrote about Shivers, “I now have a base of knowledge for treating cancer patients that I did not have prior to working with her” and, “when dealing with patients who were non-compliant, she always remained professional and even toned, providing me with strategies for dealing with challenging situations I will be able to use later in my own practice.”
A leadership letter of recommendation credited Shivers for “her willingness to mentor students when she has such an active patient caseload” and, “as a clinical dietitian in an oncology setting, modeling excellent patient assessment and intervention skills for students.”
Shivers joined Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in 2003. Her registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist credentials were conferred at Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge, La. where she earned a Bachelor of Science in human nutrition and food and completed a nine month supervised practice dietetic internship. She received her MS in nutrition education from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago.
Mary Bird Perkins—Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is the most comprehensive cancer center in Louisiana offering patients the convenience of receiving high-quality, advanced care close to home. The Cancer Center is part of the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), a group of competitively selected cancer centers developing a national model for community cancer care.