Fruit Pizza is an amusing name for a healthy little treat that combines real fruit on top of a sugar cookie crust. Susann from North Carolina modified Fruit Pizza to make it kidney-friendly. She says you bake it, chill it and then cut it just like a real pizza. The young and the young-at-heart will vote for Fruit Pizza as a family favorite. Hey, how about Susann for President?!
Born in Louisiana, Susann says she was drawn to dietetics because she loved science and cooking, and it seemed like a good combination. After attending Northwestern State University in Louisiana, she consulted for small hospitals and nursing homes in Washington State. Then she transferred to Virginia where she continued to train in the renal field.
The most challenging aspect of a dietitian’s job, according to Susann, is helping patients learn how to control their phosphorus. “The reward is found in the interaction with all of my patients,” she adds. “To make a difference in patients’ lives, I try to give them hope and teach them how to include all foods safely in their diets.”
Susann says she most enjoys getting to know each patient as an individual, learning about their families, things they enjoy doing, and their hopes for the future. “I describe my working approach as trying to love them into compliance by caring for them. The single most important thing patients can do to improve their health is practice moderation in all phases of life and be an active participant in the healthcare team.”
Like many other dietitians have found, Susann’s patients love to sample recipes! “I have spent time in the lobby demonstrating recipes and taste-testing items and feel this is a great learning opportunity for me as well as the patients. I find out more info in the lobby than anywhere else.”
Ever since DaVita’s inception, Susann has been on the team. She admits that the networking opportunities and village/team concept are aspects she really enjoys. “The most interesting thing I’ve learned at DaVita is how much faith many of my patients have and what a positive outlook they are able to maintain. Building relationships is important and over several years I worked with a gentleman who (at first) felt we had nothing in common. He felt as though I could not possibly understand anything about how and what he enjoyed eating. I shared a story with him about how as a child I had helped my parents (both of whom loved to hunt and fish) clean fish and “pick” the feathers from wild ducks. I told him that in Louisiana we learned to eat just about everything. This seemed to help establish a better rapport between us. “
Susann’s center is located in rural Eden, NC. A textile and farming community, Susann loves that people seem to develop close relationships with one another there.
Everybody needs a little fun in their food plan now and then. If you want to inspire smiles and chuckles, try making a Fruit Pizza. Don’t forget to make a Happy Face or some other decoration out of the fruit on the top!