Huntington, MA – The Gateway School-Based Health Center—operated by Hilltown Community Health Centers—is pleased to announce that a nutritionist is now on staff and available to work with students on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon. Registered dietician Joanna Martin is ready to work with students to help them meet their health goals, whether that involves learning more about nutrition, improving athletic performance, improving overall health and energy, sleeping better or managing stress.
“I love food and what food can do for people’s overall health,” she noted, adding that she is also certified in Diabetes Education.
Students who are interested in working with Martin can make an appointment at the School-Based Health Center by stopping in or calling 667-0142. Students are also being referred by school nurses and the SBHC Nurse Practitioner, Brenda Jaeger.
This marks Martin’s first post in a school setting, although she has extensive experience with people of all ages. Her prior work includes the WIC (Women, Infants & Children up to age 5) program, the pediatrics ward at Berkshire Medical Center, nursing homes, and in private practice at a physician’s office.
Martin is also available to work with Hilltown Community Health Center patients on Mondays at their Huntington office.
She comes to Gateway with an extensive background serving people at all ages. While employed for the National Health Care Corporation—which has sites in ten states on the eastern seaboard—she was part of a team that won the company’s 2009 Dietary Excellence Award. Martin went on to earn their 2011 Rising Star Award and 2013 Clinical Excellence Award.
Martin received her degree at the University of New Haven, completing an internship and licensing exam to become a Registered Dietitian. To maintain her license, she is required to obtain 30 continuing education units every two years for her Massachusetts License; plus 75 continuing education units every five years for her Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics license.
She is happy to be part of a comprehensive health program at Gateway. “It’s incredible,” Martin said. “To provide all of these health services to students at school—especially in a rural setting where parents can work so far away—it just makes so much sense. I can’t believe there aren’t more School-Based Health Centers.”
One piece of advice she offers to people who want to be healthier? Give up foods that have high fructose corn syrup in them. “It’s not just in sodas, you can find it in breads and crackers, too,” she said, adding that it has become such a big issue in the food and health industries that it’s becoming easier to find foods that do not contain the ingredient, as companies are increasingly putting large labels on the front packaging touting the absence of the syrup.
Martin enjoys cooking and gardening and recently took up running as a pastime. She completed several 5K races last year, and has her eye set on a half-marathon this October.