What is your current position?
Owner of Vitalfood Therapy LLC, Nutrition Therapy Eating disorder treatment specializing in functional nutrition & experiential and somatic sessions for full recovery
How did you get started in your career?
Graduate of Baylor University, Waco TX followed by Dietetic internship Cook County Hospital Chicago with graduate studies at Univ of Illinois Chicago. My career began 29 years ago in hospital clinical nutrition. I worked in the specialties of cardiac ICU, Neonatal and Pediatric ICU, oncology, transplant and general medical. Promotion to clinical & food service management positions kept me busy and grew to love the business aspects of RD life! My own hospitalization & recovery from anorexia at a young age was something people didn’t talk about in the mid 1980’s and 90’s, so I kept my head down and worked in general clinical nutrition & management, but I knew I had a calling to support others struggling with disordered eating. I didn’t know how that would happen until one day a woman turned to me abruptly in the hospital elevator at work and said, ” I think you are supposed to help people with eating disorders!” And so the sacred journey began, working & training in several treatment centers in the DFW area and then establishing my private practice in 2003. It’s been quite a ride and grateful for every second of it!!
What advice would you give to someone new to the field?
Stay open to each clinical experience as a teaching moment to learn more about yourself and others. As a young RD, I often found the daily staff hospital routine so mundane and I couldn’t wait to “clock out” and stop going through the motions of bedside assessments and writing orders that were often ignored. But now I cherish every memory of encouraging patients in their suffering and how much I learned about the human body, Spirit, and medical conditions at the acute level. This builds a foundation of clinical confidence in outpatient care that no certification or class can provide. In private practice and business, the sky is the limit, if you see a need then there is a good chance the universe has picked you to fill it!! Connect with mentors in the field, attend all the CE events you can, get certification in the areas of your passion, and network, get rooted &build bridges with other providers.
Jean Sullivan RDN, LD
Eating disorder specialist
Certified holistic cannabis practitioner
Equine and nature led meal support in recovery