From dance to Dietetics: Alumna connects with communities to support nutritional well-being
Krissy Tate, MPH ’23
Having a connection with people has always been important to Krissy Tate, MPH ’23, whether that’s by dancing on a stage in front of an audience or by one day soon counseling patients as a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN).
Tate, who grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, has been a dancer her whole life. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a pre-health concentration in 2008 from the University of Michigan, she moved to New York City to fulfill her dream of performing with a modern dance company.
She moved back to Michigan a year before the COVID-19 pandemic to be the Pilates manager of an innovative fitness center. The pandemic provided inspiration for career growth. Throughout this time, Tate realized how emotional health, nutritional health and physical health are all equally important. She enrolled in the Nutritional Sciences program at Michigan Public Health in 2021.
While going back to school offered some obstacles for Tate, she was thankful for the support of her professors, mentors, friends and family, who have all helped guide her to the position she is in today. Tate was also grateful to be the recipient of scholarships presented by the School of Public Health, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Michigan Nutrition and Dietetics Institute and Southeastern Michigan Dietetic Association.
I just had the best feeling with Michigan—it was the right fit. I felt like my background in a non-science field was a positive for the University of Michigan. I also appreciated the opportunity to pursue several certifications to enhance my degree and to be involved with student groups.”
— Krissy Tate, who graduated in 2023 with a Master of Public Health in Nutritional Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics from the University of Michigan School of Public Health
She earned the Professional Development Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate through Rackham Graduate School and the Longitudinal Interprofessional Family-based Experience (LIFE) certificate through the Center for Interprofessional Education. Tate was a leader on the executive board of the Weight Inclusive Initiative, the School of Public Health representative for the Interprofessional Education Student Advisory Committee, and the Professional Development and Networking co-chair of the Nutritional Sciences Student Association.
Some of the tenets of public health that Tate has found to be the most interesting in her time at Michigan Public Health relative to nutrition are being weight-inclusive and practicing cultural humility.
“My vision for the future of dietetics is to bring the issues of weight inclusivity and cultural humility to the forefront of the field,” she said, circling back to making a connection with people. “Valuing each patient’s perspective and collaborating during nutritional counseling honors nutritional goals without erasing cultural identity.
“A weight-inclusive approach to nutritional care promotes health equity.”
She believes that everyone is deserving of being treated with dignity and receiving healthcare in a way that respects their identities.
The School of Public Health Dietetic Internship has continued to provide opportunities to practice cultural humility and weight inclusivity that have been carried throughout Tate’s Michigan Public Health experience.
“I think that sets our nutrition program apart from many other schools,” she said. “The appreciation of public health and serving our community in this way to promote health equity.”
Tate’s Michigan Public Health experience has invited her to further nurture emotional well-being along with nutritional health. During her graduate career, Tate began incorporating these principles into her work as a certified Pilates instructor and as an intern with an integrated health and wellness company. Her role has recently grown with the wellness company, and Tate is now a nutrition coach that leads group sessions.
“In a way, group nutrition coaching reminds me of when I would connect with the audience during a dance performance,” she said. “Engaging with my community feels close to home. By leading shared experiences in a group setting, I feel I can reach a lot of people with my degree in public health.”
Tate is currently finishing her Dietetic Internship with Michigan Public Health. Once completed, she will be eligible to take the credentialing exam to become a registered dietitian nutritionist.
“I plan to become an RDN who helps heal the community’s relationship with food,” she said.
Tate also wants others who are considering a career change to know that it’s never too late.
“I think that it’s important to know that everything you’ve experienced in your past is a strength, and it's possible to make a career pivot,” she said. “Not being the same as everyone else is not a bad thing. Your unique perspective will empower you on your path to public health.”