Passavant Community Nutrition Specialist Wins Prestigious Award

Published: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Congratulations to Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Helenkay Smith (center) on reaching a prestigious career milestone as the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Outstanding Dietetic Educator for 2015.  She is the Nutrition Specialist at Passavant Community where she develops programming for healthy older adults, provides nutrition consultation and supports the employee wellness initiatives.

Helenkay Smith, MS, RDN, LDN, graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Dietetics and earned her Master’s Degree in Nutrition/Professional Growth, also from IUP. She is an adjunct faculty member at Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, PA.  Having worked as a clinical nutritionist at Allegheny General Hospital in her early professional years, Helenkay discovered a passion for teaching and mentoring.  Now as Practicum Instructor and Coordinator for CCAC’s Dietetic Program, Helenkay oversees more than 35 sites for both the clinical/foodservice practicum as well as the community nutrition experience. Her responsibilities include student placement, cultivation & preservation of practicum sites, communication with preceptors, and evaluation of practicum skills.  In addition, Helenkay teaches several nutrition courses. Through innovative education-related initiatives such as Panopto Video Feed and SKYPE, Helenkay works to create a robust online experience for distance students in the program. Helenkay takes student learning to heart by assisting students with a wide range of needs, sometime requiring attention to specific practicum placement. She takes pride in a student focus that has always been/will always be to bring out the best in every student, helping each to reach their career goals.

Helenkay is a member of the Pittsburgh Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (PitAND), Nutrition & Dietetic Educators & Preceptors (NDEP), Healthy Aging DPG, & has received a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management.  Master’s Thesis:  Weight Gain Analysis of Stage II Breast Cancer Patients.

In addition to her work at CCAC, Helenkay spends two days a week as the Nutrition Specialist at Lutheran SeniorLife Passavant Community where she develops programming for healthy older adults, provides nutrition consultation and supports the wellness initiatives of employees of Lutheran SeniorLife. Just this past year, Helenkay was also a preceptor for an RD student affiliating at Passavant, mentoring her while the student completed a wellness rotation. 

Most recently, in keeping with LSL’s mission of providing abundant life, & at the behest of residents, Helenkay wrote two grants, which facilitated the purchase of new handbells. She also directs the resident & staff handbell choirs at Passavant. One recent employee wellness initiative that is a bit out of her comfort zone finds Helenkay teaching a weekly water aerobics class. 

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