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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why would I want to see a Registered Dietitian (RD)? A registered dietitian (RD) is helpful in assessing the nutritional status, medical condition, and motivation of an individual person to promote health.  Combining these factors, a RD can promote wellness, provide treatment, or help prevent adverse health through practical suggestions on what to eat, how cook, which foods to include, how to shop for groceries, how to plan balanced nutritious meals, which supplements are needed if any, etc.
  2. What is an RD? RDs = Nutrition Experts. Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts who can translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. RDs use their nutrition expertise to help individuals make unique, positive lifestyle changes. They work throughout the community in hospitals, schools, public health clinics, nursing homes, fitness centers, food management, food industry, universities, research and private practice. RDs are advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world.
  3. How is an RD different than a nutritionist? All dietitians are nutritionists but not all nutritionists are dietitians. Since there is no legal definition for the title “nutritionist”, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. Some people are self-taught and others have basic nutrition education from a 6 week or 6 month program. One can become a “CN” or certified nutritionist in as little as 6 weeks from online studies. Other nutritionists may have extensive education and knowledge/experience in the field of nutrition and dietetics but without the necessary 5 year credentialing process. Or, perhaps the nutritionist has not taken or passed the national board certification and ongoing continuing development to maintain RD status. Often, nutritionists that are employed by hospitals or doctor’s offices are essential in providing sound nutrition advice for straightforward conditions such as weight loss or weight gain, general nutrition, or life stages such as pregnancy, childhood and older adults. Nutritionists are considered by some as the dietitian’s professional partners in health education and motivating change. The dietitian, then, is able to handle the more complex conditions or disease processes using medical nutrition therapy (MNT).
  4. If I would like an appointment with a Registered Dietitian (RD), how do I go about getting one? For an appointment with an RD you will need a referral. Office cost share will apply. If you would like a referral, please ask your primary care doctor, or specialty care doctor. They will send a referral and our staff will contact you within 48 hours. Our Clinical Health Educators are a great first step as well, and can often provide advice and direction and a referral if desired.  Call 707-393-4167 to be booked with a CHE.
  5. What can I expect when I come in for my visit? When you arrive for your visit, please check in with the receptionist in the lobby of the waiting area. The RD will come out to greet you at your scheduled appointment time and walk you back to the office. You may or may not be weighed depending on your preference and the reason for your visit. Your initial visit is scheduled for 40 minutes, and will involve the RD assessing and evaluating information about your eating patterns, lab values, symptoms, and/ or concerns you may have related to your referral, and working with you to develop a course of action. If further visits or follow up are warranted, the RD will book appointments, or ensure that you receive proper direction before you leave.
  6. Do I need to bring anything with me to my visit? Please bring a recent 3 day food diary to your visit (sample food diary). This will help the RD assess your overall food intake and patterns. You may also want to come prepared with your top 3 questions for the RD, in order to ensure that your needs and concerns are addressed at your visit.