Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Susan Raatz, PhD, FTOS, Research Nutritionist for USDA's Agricultural Research Service at Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, ND.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am a Research Nutritionist for USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in Grand Forks, ND. I am also an Associate Professor (Adjunct) for Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.
A: I began my career as a clinical dietitian (University of Michigan, Methodist Hospital in Houston) and research dietitian (GCRC - University of Minnesota). I earned my PhD and was appointed to the faculty of the Division of Endocrinology, Medical School, and University of Minnesota. I recently (2009) transferred to the USDA as a research nutritionist. My current research focuses on the evaluation of the role of dietary macronutrient distribution in the promotion of optimal health and the prevention of chronic diseases. I primarily works with the utilization of whole foods diets to modify energy distribution from macronutrient substrates in the prevention of obesity and related metabolic disease.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: Tenacity and the willingness to learn from others.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: I believe that you have to work very hard and be prepared to recognize opportunities when they come your way. The work we do is highly collaborative - make an effort to work closely with and learn from others.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: I am working on the development of a new 'satiety index' which is proving to be both difficult and interesting.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: I love to downhill ski and I do Middle Eastern dance (i.e. Belly dance). I love to travel, to cook and to be entertained!