Interview with Nicole T Erickson, MS, RD
IAAND Germany Country Representative
By Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, LMHC, FAND, CR Chairperson
When you’re a Fulbright Scholarship recipient, graduating Summa Cum Laude and honored with a half dozen more prestigious awards from the Academy, her professors, local dietetic associations and industry, it’s no wonder our Germany CR was selected as our IAAND Emerging Dietetic Leader of the Year, 2013.
Living by her career motto, “don’t stray from what you love to do” this Eastern Michigan/St. Mary’s College of Maryland graduate, oncology nutrition expert, book author, clinician & researcher moved to Germany in 2011, connecting with the former CR Mary Koller who passed the baton to Nicole when she completed her term.
IAAND is grateful to have Nicole’s energy, enthusiasm and expertise and hopes all members will have the opportunity to read her dozens of peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and book.
Meet Nicole Erickson
This dynamic mother of two, a girl 12 year old (Lucia) and 10 year old boy (Oliver) and former IAAND Newsletter Editor first went to Germany at the age of 19 as an Au-Pair. She has since moved back and forth between USA and Germany before finally settling in Germany after completing a 2 year long worldwide backpacking journey. She met her husband there and he was transferred to Michigan where she completed her Masters. Since she moved back in 2011, she has been actively involved as a German Dietetic Association Delegate ENHA (ONCA) Campaign and German Dietetic Association Founder and Chair of Work Group Oncology since 2013. Nicole works part time as Nutrition Coordinator of Oncology Dietetics at the Comprehensive Cancer Center in Munich. From 2012 until 2016 she worked as an Oncology Dietitian and Nutrition Scientist at the Department of Prevention, Sport, and Nutrition, Technical University of Munich, Klinikum Rechts der Isar, Germany.
Nicole has served an instrumental role in writing position papers and guidelines for practice in Germany; and holds additional certifications from The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation for ServSafe. Her most recent peer reviewed article: Systematic review: Isocaloric ketogenic dietary regimes for cancer patients, 2017 was published in Med Oncol (2017) 34:72 (see link.)
Country Health Issues Impacted by Nutrition
Like many countries, Germany is dealing with the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers. The good news is all citizens are covered with healthcare as it is believed to be a basic human right in Germany. While Germany is not focused on dietetics care, they are systematic when it comes to all things health and advance faster once they have evidence based facts to support a specific modality. One integrative component to oncology care that IS recognized is the Psycho-oncologist which is good for Nicole and her team since they value nutrition and wellness. Nutrition, however is still considered to be a “luxury service.”
Opportunities & Challenges in Germany Dietetics
Currently only two formal programs degreed studies in dietetics and nutrition exist. The 3 year program they have had for many years however, prompts graduates to work in kitchens about 60% of the time, 40% in other roles. Sports and corporate dietetics is fairly new fields since 2012. Medical doctors actually have a certificate for nutrition and those interested become Nutritional Doctors. While they are not comparable to dietitians, some nutritional doctors support the integration of dietitians in the clinical area.
What are some German Traditions, foods, seasoning, rituals and recipes that you believe other countries can adapt to benefit their lifestyles?
The family meal during the evening or midday is an important time to catch up. Christmas is the most important holiday, sharing home baked cookies with neighbors, coworkers, friends and neighbors.
To connect with Nicole, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read Nicole’s book that she co-authored with Schaller N., Berling-Ernst A., Bertz H (if you read German), Ernährungspraxis Onkologie: Behandlungsalgorithmen, Interventions-Checklisten, Beratungsempfehlungen griffbereit. Schattauer Verlag.