Staff spotlight: Jillian Smith

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Transplant Talk - Boston Children's Hospital Fall 2015

Meet Jillian Smith, RD, a clinical nutrition specialist for the Liver, Intestine and Multivisceral Transplant Programs.

Jillian SmithWhy did you choose to become a dietitian?

I became a dietitian because I have always been interested in medicine, as well as food, health and well-being. During high school, I shadowed a dietitian at Maine Medical Center, near my home in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. And between semesters in college, I started a catering business out of my mom’s kitchen — it was quite successful. Being able to connect with people and patients through food and nutrition has helped me thrive in this profession.

How did you get involved with transplant nutrition?

I worked with transplant patients during my internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which sparked my interest in this patient population. When I found out this job was open, I wanted to learn more. After speaking with the dietitian who was in the position at the time, my interest turned into a desire to work with pediatric transplant patients. I then met the liver, intestine and multivisceral transplant teams, and I was sold. I was very lucky this position also allowed me to pursue my other interest — critical care.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The best part of my job is seeing the growth and the nutrition rehabilitation and optimization after a patient receives a transplant. To be a part of that remarkable transformation is so rewarding. It’s such a significant progression. I see their concern and frustration before transplant — particularly with biliary atresia patients, who are often nutritionally deprived and malnourished — and then, after transplant, nutrition is seen in such a different light.

What are you most proud of as it relates to your work?

I didn’t have much experience before I became a dietitian at Boston Children’s Hospital. It was my first job after my internship. So, what I am most proud of is that I have learned a lot of over the past year and a half. It was difficult in the beginning, but I have been able to establish myself in this role and contribute to the transplant team, as well as to the patients. I have formed great connections with the families I’ve evaluated and followed through transplant.

Transplant Dietitian Jillian Smith RunningWhat are your hobbies and interests outside of work?

I enjoy running. I run a lot, and I enjoy doing all different types of road races. I also like to cook. I recently catered a 60th birthday party, but I usually just cook for friends and family.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher. I still like to teach and enjoy working with interns and students as part of my job.

If you weren’t a dietitian, what would you be?

If I had gone to medical school, I would have gone into surgery. Or, I might have gone to culinary school and started a “real” catering company. My sister is in event planning, so we’ve always talked about starting an event and catering business. Who knows? Maybe we will someday.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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