Jennifer Meachum’s journey to her career path as a dietician began with a revelation.
“I had my own personal experience. I lost 100 pounds. I did it through diet and exercise. I knew at that point I wanted to help others,” explained Meachum. “That’s when I found Incarnate Word and the nutrition program was a perfect fit.”
Meachum, who graduated from UIW with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition in 2002, said she was blessed upon completing her degree to be accepted into UIW’s Dietetic Internship Program. Through the internship she was able to establish relationships, leading to her first job as a pediatric dietitian at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa.
Now, as wellness director for North Central Baptist Hospital, Meachum promotes nutrition and wellness for employees by organizing quarterly health fairs, implementing wellness programs, coordinating Lunch and Learns as well as free fitness classes for employees, among others.
“As caregivers, we usually put ourselves on the backburner, so it’s my job to help them remember to put themselves first,” said Meachum. “They can’t care for others if they’re not caring for themselves. So I get to take care of our employees.”
In her current role, she also has the opportunity to promote health and wellness in the San Antonio community. She organizes community events throughout the year, such as an annual breast cancer awareness 5K and other events that focus on wellness promotion and education as well as visiting various organizations to conduct healthy cooking demonstrations.
She has been a regular guest, serving as a nutrition and wellness expert, on KENS 5 Great Day SA, FOX News at Nine, FOX Focus on South Texas and KSAT SA Live morning show. She has also appeared on the KENS Saturday morning show.
Meachum is dedicated to teaching others how to make healthy lifestyle choices, particularly through choosing and preparing heart-healthy foods.
“February is one of my favorite months of the year because of Heart Health Month,” she said. “We have a great partnership with the American Heart Association. There is such a big role that the foods you choose play in your heart health. So that’s why I’m very passionate about teaching others on how to make those changes because you can have control of your body with those lifestyle changes.”
An extension of that passion is teaching how to add flavor and enjoy foods while still eating healthy. She has even returned to her alma mater to do just that by giving cooking demonstrations at Lunch and Learns hosted by UIW’s Employee Wellness Committee.
“I get goosebumps,” shared Meachum. “I feel like UIW is my roots and my home. And so to go back there and give back, it is a beautiful experience.”
Meachum believes the education and experience she received at Incarnate Word was key to cultivating who she is today.
“Incarnate Word is such a unique experience as a student. You are taught core values that carry on with you not only in your career but in your life too,” she explained. “And it was essential for me to get that foundation and to take that with me into my career and into the community. If it wasn’t for UIW, I would never be where I am today.”