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Elizabeth Vaughan, DO, MPH, RD Elizabeth Vaughan, DO, MPH, RD (0 Posts)

Nutrition Expert

Baylor College of Medicine

My career goal is to improve medical care for resource-poor individuals, particularly by training Community Health Workers (CHWs) to educate communities in nutrition education and preventive care. From observations of vulnerable populations during international trips to Hispanic countries in high school and college, I observed that low-income individuals often had nutritional resources in their local environments but lacked the knowledge of their necessity. This led to my interest in dietetics to use education to overcome nutrient deficiencies. I studied Nutrition and Spanish as an undergraduate at Ohio State and completed my dietetic internship at Mayo Clinic to become a Registered Dietitian. Observing medical needs beyond nutrition led to pursuing my medical degree at Michigan State. I completed my MPH during my internship at the University of Texas and my Internal Medicine residency at Henry Ford. My MPH thesis addressed the impact of nutrition on CD4+ levels in HIV-positive adults in Kenya. Working alongside local CHWs, we gathered and analyzed 3-day dietary recalls from HIV-positive individuals and found a positive association between protein intake and CD4+ levels in males. During residency, I studied the efficacy of a 3-week nutrition and medical course for CHWs who care for HIV-positive individuals in India. I found that CHWs who took the course made significant individual hydration improvements and could successfully teach these hydration requirements to critically ill HIV-positive patients. From my experiences with CHWs in India, Kenya, and locally, I find the possibilities of CHWs intriguing—the ability to bridge patients to the healthcare system with locals who understand everyday problems, issues, and resource infrastructure. I am currently faculty at Baylor College of Medicine. I continue to work with CHWs in underserved communities and am active in nutrition education for medical students.