August’s Distinguished Dietitian is Tricia Thompson, MS, RD.
Learn more about Tricia and her work below.
RD Since: 1991
Area(s) of Practice: Celiac disease and the gluten-free diet
Website/social media links:
Brief professional bio:
Tricia Thompson is a nutrition consultant, researcher, and writer. She has authored numerous publications for both scientific and popular readerships, including articles published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, and New England Journal of Medicine.
Her research interests include the nutritional quality of the gluten-free diet, safety of oats, gluten contamination of naturally gluten-free grains, and gluten content of labeled gluten-free foods. She is the author of a variety of books on the gluten-free diet, including The Gluten-Free Nutrition Guide (McGraw-Hill), The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ booklet Celiac Disease Nutrition Guide, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Easy Gluten-Free: Expert Nutrition Advice with More Than 100 Recipes, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Pocket Guide to Gluten-Free Strategies for Clients with Multiple Diet Restrictions.
Tricia has been a contributing author to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Nutrition Care Manual and a workgroup member of the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library (EAL) project on celiac disease. She was a member of the External Peer Review of the FDA/CFSAN the Draft Health Hazard Assessment for Gluten Exposure in Individuals with Celiac Disease.
Tricia is the creator of the Gluten-Free Dietitian website and founder of Gluten Free Watchdog, LLC. This company is dedicated to making state-of-the-art gluten-free food testing data available directly to the public.
Tricia has a MS degree in nutrition from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts and a BA degree in English Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont. She completed her dietetic internship at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at the New England Medical Center in Boston.
What does ‘professional integrity’ mean to you?
In my primary “job” as the sole proprietor of Gluten Free Watchdog (a service that provides unbiased gluten-free food testing data to consumers), professional integrity means ALWAYS putting the needs of gluten-free consumers first. As can be imagined, this does not go over well with food manufacturers and gluten-free certification organizations when results are posted showing foods making gluten-free claims to contain more than the allowed level of gluten.
But, as I write on the website: Under The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics/Commission on Dietetic Registration Code of Ethics for the Profession on Dietetics, I have a responsibility to “consider the health, safety, and welfare of the public at all times.” If I am aware that a labeled gluten-free product contains more than the amount of gluten allowed under the Food and Drug Administration’s rule for labeling food gluten-free, I have an ethical responsibility to disclose this information to interested parties (e.g., subscribers).”
What words of encouragement do you have for RDs-to-be looking to make a significant contribution to our profession?
Choose an area of dietetics/nutrition that you love. Know your subject matter in depth. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Sometimes you have to swim against the tide but eventually the tide will shift. There are dietitian mentors to support you. Seek them out.
What was the most blatant “conflict of interest” situation you encountered involving AND?
Let me respond to this question by looking forward. DFPI is increasing awareness of bias and perceived bias among dietitians and the Academy. Yes, there is plenty of bias but what everyone should understand is that perceived bias (even when true bias doesn’t exist) is just as harmful. From the public’s perspective there is no difference. Through speaking out and educating DFPI is making a difference. You have made a difference for me.
Again, we extend our congratulations to Tricia and thank her for her important work and for representing the RD credential in a forward-thinking manner.