Johane Filemon is a proud Haitian-American, registered dietitian nutritionist with a wealth of experience in gut health and anti-inflammatory therapies. You guys know how I feel about gut health! So I was more than excited to hear the story of yet another Caribbean gem!
Johane Filemon, RDN
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your current role?
My name is Johane Filemon and I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I was born in Haiti, but have spent most of my life in the United States. I consider myself Haitian-American because I will never forget where I came from and who I am essentially nor will I ignore where I reside. I have a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the Florida State University and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and master’s degree in Food and Nutrition Science from the University of Georgia. Currently I run my own practice, Wonderfully Nutritious Solutions, LLC based out of Atlanta, Georgia. My focus is mainly on gut health and anti-inflammatory therapies. I love helping people reverse their chronic symptoms. This stems from my own experience of dealing with chronic pain after contracting H. Pylori. I never want anyone to have to go through chronic inflammation if they don’t have to.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue nutrition and dietetics?
Believe it or not I had never heard of the field of dietetics until I got to Florida State. My focus was on finishing my Exercise Science premed degree and heading to med school. Once I started getting into core classes and was introduced to nutrition, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I finished my degree but instead of medical school, I pursued a career in nutrition!
What was your most interesting client encounter?
Most of my clients have quite interesting cases! There are a lot of people out there dealing with chronic inflammation. What keeps it interesting for me is that someone can have the same diagnoses and their symptoms are not exactly the same with the next person with the exact same diagnosis. Basically, it does not get boring.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced moving into this field?
I would say one of the biggest challenges of being in this field is the lack of mentors coming in, specifically mentors that looked like me. I had a great mentor in grad school. He had a PhD in Nutrition but he was not a dietitian and could not really tell me a lot about that aspect of nutrition when it came to experience. We all know that minorities make up a very small percentage of dietitians. I wish I had been able to find someone that looked like me that had gone through the path that I was about to take.
What’s your favourite meal or foods?
LOL, that is hard to choose. Peanut butter everything, mangoes, fried plantains/plantain chips, rice and beans. I have so many favorites!
What are your thoughts on diversity in N&D?
We needed diversity to have happened years and years ago! Moving forward we need to continue the conversation and not back down from the powers that be in making sure that changes are made. Some of the areas of focus should be access to didactic programs, having more accredited programs available. Having interns work 40 hours/week with no pay. Most of us are not able to not work and continue on with advance degrees.
What’s your biggest pet peeve in terms of being a registered dietitian nutritionist?
Most of my pet peeves that I had with the field were really in the clinical setting. Now with me being in private practice, I get to control everything. The biggest pet peeve maybe is not really about the field but more so people wanting my services but not wanting to pay.
Black or Blue ink pens?
Blue ink LOL!
If you could summarise your career as a nutrition professional in 3 words, what would they be?
Satisfying, rewarding, exciting!
What advice would you give to black youth considering nutrition & dietetics as a career?
We need you! Do it! Don’t let anyone tell you no! There are a lot more minorities in the field now. Find someone that aligns with the work you want to do or someone who you feel will be a good mentor and contact them.