CSU, Chico News

Nutrition Professor Dawn Clifford Wins Outstanding Educator Award

Date: 03-26-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
Kathryn Silliman, Chair
Department of Nutrition and Food Science

California State University, Chico nutrition and food science professor Dawn Clifford has received an Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The award recognizes faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching, mentoring and leadership in the field of dietetics. One educator is selected from four program types in each of the academy’s seven geographic areas. Nutrition and Dietetic Educators (NDEP) Area 1 includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. A list of awardees will be published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and DEPLine, a newsletter for academy members.

Clifford joined the Department of Nutrition and Food Science in 2006 and has served as the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics since 2007. She teaches courses on nutrition counseling and education and medical nutrition therapy, among others.

In 2011, she used an on-campus grant to create a simulation center experience for dietetics students. Using the lifelike mannequins at the Northern California Clinical Simulation Center, she created three patient scenarios. The scenarios allow dietetics students to review medical records, conduct assessment interviews, discuss nutrition interventions and interact with actors posing as health care professionals. Clifford has given numerous presentations on the simulations and has been asked by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to create a toolbox for other dietetic educators.

Outside the classroom, Clifford has helped developed a peer-led internship program called FitU, which trains students to conduct one-on-one nutrition counseling sessions. She also developed a graduate-level course in nutrition counseling, teaching advanced topics in counseling theory and techniques. As part of the course, students are paired with a client – a CSU, Chico faculty or staff member – for at least four sessions of nutrition counseling, providing real-world student experience and valuable client services.

A prolific researcher, she has published several papers and abstracts in the area of dietetics education. She recently created a course on Health At Every Size (HAES®), an approach gaining national momentum that emphasizes body acceptance and positive food and exercise experiences. Clifford led a team that developed the nation’s first HAES curriculum for colleges and universities.

“In her six short years at CSU, Chico, Dr. Clifford has been highly productive in the area of dietetics education,” said Kathryn Silliman, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science. “She is passionate about being an outstanding educator and strives to create highly engaging, relevant educational experiences for our dietetic students. She is highly deserving of this incredible honor.”

Clifford holds master’s and doctoral degrees in nutritional sciences from Colorado State University at Fort Collins and a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Northern Arizona University.

She was recognized at a recent NDEP Area 1 meeting in Pacific Grove and will be recognized at the annual meeting of the California Dietetic Association in early April.