Tomoko Okada

The dedication that Tomoko Okada demonstrates places her among those at the top of the field, and her influential contributions to current research set a high standard for those to follow.

Why Selected?

Veronica McLymont, director of food and nutrition services, says: As a young dietitian, the dedication that Tomoko demonstrates places her among those at the top of the field, and her influential contributions to current research set a high standard for those to follow. As an emergent leader, Tomoko is a true servant. She volunteered with MSKCC’s pediatric department, where she escorted pediatric patients to view the NYC Marathon last year.

Details

Clinical Dietitian, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Age: 28
Education: B.S. in nutrition and food studies from New York University; master’s in nutrition and dietetics from New York University
Years at organization: 5

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

My colleague and I took the lead in an evidence-based practice committee that worked with medical staff, nursing and pharmacy in developing comprehensive guidelines on prevention of enteral nutrition support for our pediatric patients. It was a very long and demanding process. It’s also exciting to see it implemented and impacting the daily clinical nutrition practice and other departments as well.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Believe in yourself; trust your instincts; follow your dreams and don’t give up.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

When I first moved to the U.S. from Japan in 1998, I barely spoke English and I started right away as a junior in an American high school. Taking English classes with all American students as a non-English speaker was very tough. When a challenge is thrown at you, you learn to keep going until you have mastered the issue at hand. I think it made me stronger emotionally and with that experience it helps me face new challenges.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

I work in the intensive care unit where we deal with very sick patients who are often on nutritional support or unable to eat by mouth. I work with family members of those patients who are going through so much emotionally and it means so much to me when they give me compliments saying I’ve brightened up their day. What I do for them is such a tiny part of everything else that is going on, so for them to take time to tell me something nice means a lot.

Q. What can you look back at now and laugh at?

Soon after I completed my dietetic internship, Joint Commission came to the hospital for an accreditation survey. I only knew that it was a very stressful time, but I had never experienced it myself. On the way to the office, I ran into a manager who told me the Joint Commission officers were going to be at the hospital and I needed to alert the rest of the dietitians as soon as possible. My face apparently turned blue and I ran into the dietitians’ office panting and yelling, “Joint Commission is here.” Looking back I was so scared of what’s to come. It’s funny remembering how nervous I used to be.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources