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Nutrition Informatics Blog

Mother Knows Best...Even when you are a Program Director

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Guest Blog From Amanda Holliday

My mother, or “Mama” as we say here in the south, is a computer programmer.  She is a guru at how to take data and make it usable or “minable.”  In my mind, she was one of the first informaticists.  Therefore, I grew up hearing and thinking about how I could use computers to streamline my daily work and life. Whether it was science projects, club events or keeping track of all the reasons my parents should buy me a dog…I was using computers for data management. 

Fast forward 30+ years and I am a Program Director of a Coordinated Master’s Program.  In the role of Program Director, I teach, coordinate and manage internship placements and keep up with all those data points for student outcomes/standards. Those outcomes are done for each and every student for many, many learning activities.  Whew!  Many times I feel overwhelmed with not only keeping track of all those evaluation forms but trying to keep track up with 5 years worth of data points (for 24 students!). 

Recently, after a day of being overwhelmed with stacks of evaluation forms, I found myself reflecting on Mama’s good training.  I was dreaming of a program that would electronically manage the preceptor and student evaluations, program deliverables and generate usable reports for the CADE (Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education) student outcomes.   I wanted a way to spend more time with my students and analyzing my data instead of so much time keeping track of “tick marks.”  So I went to work… six months later I was putting the finishing touches on an online data management program for program directors.   Now, real-time, I can check to see how an individual student or a group of students are being evaluated.  I can run reports on how the program is meeting each learning outcome AND provide real-time responses and management.   

We all must take the opportunity to reflect on how to become a better informaticist.  It is our chance to streamline our workload and become more efficient.  Of course, in my case, listening to your mother also doesn’t hurt.  Have a great week! 

Amanda S. Holliday MS, RD, LDN

Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director

UNC-Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC



Amanda: Brava! for creating an online student/intern evaluation tool! This will help preceptors and students so much! May I ask what software you utilized?

Terese Scollard MBA, RD, LD
Regional Clinical Nutrition Manager
Providence Health & Services
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 1/14/2011 12:34 AM

Thank you for the acknowledgement of Amanda's work--sharing such creative solutions is one of the primary roles of this blog! There are great things happening in the education world of dietetics.
Posted by: Ivonne Cueva_1 at 1/14/2011 1:30 PM

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