Hello, I’m Faith!
I was born and raised in the Memphis area where I met my wonderful husband of 10 years. We share three beautiful children together and spend most of our free time chasing them around. Some of our favorite activities include traveling, camping, and soccer. Lots of soccer! Being a wife and mother is a job I hold in the highest regard and remains my greatest motivation in helping to create a healthier more sustainable future for generations to come.
As a mother and dietitian, a lot of my personal nutrition philosophies center around the notion of balance and moderation in order to break the dangerous cycle of disordered eating habits. Food that nourishes our soul and food that nourishes our cells can exist harmoniously to provide quality of life without compromising our health. It’s a delicate balance that works only once we write the narrative of good vs bad food and shift our perspective to instead target unhealthy habits directly linked to undesired health outcomes. It’s a philosophy that has evolved over the years while working with different populations plagued with nutrition-related diseases and from my own experience growing up in a diet-obsessed culture as a young girl with a unique and increased awareness of nutrition.
My love for nutrition and food began when I was a young girl. As I watched my mother and grandmother craft some of the most delicious meals that would bring the entire family together, I began to see the ways nutrition was woven deep into the fabric of who we are and most importantly- who we strive to be. It was this personalized experienced that provided the groundwork that paved the way for me to professionally pursue nutrition.
Being a native of the Memphis area, I decided to pursue this passion of mine at the University of Memphis. I graduated in the summer of 2018 with my bachelor’s in Dietetics. Upon graduation, I immediately entered the combined masters/internship program for Clinical Nutrition at the University of Memphis where I also worked as a graduate research assistant. During this time, I worked under an immunologist to study the impact food and different nutraceuticals had on the microbial pathways that altered the way our immune system functions. It was an incredibly unique experience that fostered an even deeper desire to learn more about the world of nutrition and gave me a unique set of skills that I carry with me in every aspect of my career.
Upon completion of my master’s degree, I immediately began work at Baptist Memorial Hospital where I provided medical nutrition therapy to acute care and critically ill patients. It was during my time there that I was able to see how nutrition directly impacts disease pathology and the importance of prevention vs treatment for nutrition-related diseases. As an inpatient dietitian, I felt limited in how I could care for those already in the trenches of their diseases. Though dietitians remain a vital piece in caring for people during their hospital stay, I felt the pull to leave the acute care setting and enter the world of ambulatory care.
I now work as an outpatient dietitian at the Memphis VA medical system where I get to serve our veterans and help prevent future hospital visits by being part of the primary care aligned team, or PACT for short. PACTs are a group of health care professionals designated to treat high-risk patients with nutrition-related comorbidities including, but not limited to, diabetes, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. I also teach MOVE! Weight management classes for those looking to achieve a healthier BMI and improve other parameters of health associated with blood pressure and metabolic syndrome. During my time here, I also plan on working towards my certification to become a certified lactation specialist in order to better serve our women veterans meet their lactation goals and start our little ones off on the correct path for a healthier future! It’s an honor and privilege to work in an area of health care that is constantly evolving. Learning more about the complicated nature of nutrition-related comorbidities and how to best meet the needs of those looking to meet their personalized health goals remains my biggest aspiration.
The University of Memphis, Memphis TN, Masters in Clinical Nutrition from the College of Health Studies | December 2019
- 1200 hours supervised internship
- Graduate Research Assistant
The University of Memphis, Memphis TN, Bachelors in Dietetics from the College of Health Studies | May 2019
- Undergraduate Research Assistant
Cape Town, South Africa | June 2015
- Visited the township of Masiphumelele to learn the nutritional challenges affecting low-income groups and the different programs designed to combat food insecurity
- Worked and explored community gardens designed to combat food insecurity and stave off nutrition-related diseases
- Attended sessions at the University of Cape Town and networked with dietitians and nutritionists.
Certifications and Licensure
Prince Albert, South Africa
- Attended culinary classes at the African Relish located in the heart of the great Karoo.
Certified by the Commission on Dietetics Registration | April 2020
- Registration number: 86091030
Certified Lactation Specialist | Expected: October 2022
State of Mississippi | Issued: January 2020
- License number: D-2048
State of Tennessee | Expected: September 2022
Publications and Presentations
- Van der Merwe M, Moore D, Keating FH. The impact of a Dried Fruit and Vegetable Supplement and Fiber Rich Shake on Gut and Health Parameters in Female Healthcare workers: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial. Microorganisms. 9(4): 843, 2021.
- Bloomer RJ, Butawan M, Van der Merwe M, Keating FH. An Assessment of the Glyconutrient Ambrotose on Immunity, Gut Health, and Safety in Men and Women: A Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 12 (6): 175, 2020.
- “Time of Feeding Alters Obesity Associated Parameters and Gut Bacterial Communities, But not Fungal Populations in C57BL/6 Mice.” Centers of Excellence in Faith & Health- Methodist Healthcare. 4/2019.
Memberships and Committees
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Active Member: 2017 – present
- Attended FNCE both in person and virtually throughout my time as a member.
Memphis Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Active Member: 2018 – present
- Attended meetings while being a student member.
Wound Care Committee
- Baptist Memorial Hospital; Jan 2020 – Dec 2021
- Attended virtual meetings and provided evidence-based practices to treat patients with various degrees of tissue injury and prevent further breakdown for those with compromised skin integrity.
ERAS (enhanced recovery after surgery)
- Baptist Memorial Hospital DeSoto; Jan 2020 – Dec 2021
- Met quarterly with members of the ERAS committee including anesthesiology, pharmacy, registered nurses designated to ERAS floors, and physical therapy to improve surgical outcomes and decrease the length of stay for colorectal patients.
- Met bi-annually with ERAS dietitians in the tri-state area and Abbot nutrition representatives to stay informed on supplement protocols and best screening practices to enhance continuity of care.