USF College of Public Health alumna Nancy Lashway’s key ingredients for success combine her passion for public health and healthy eating.
As a clinical dietitian working for more than 30 years in the health care field for hospitals like Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Salem, N.C., and Bayfront Medical Center in St. Pete, Fla., she said was ready to expand upon her role as a health care professional and found public health was the answer.
Already an alumna of Douglass College in New Brunswick, N.J., where she earned her bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition in 1976, Lashway decided to obtain her MPH in public health practice from the COPH in 2003 after learning about the distance learning public health program.
“Preventative medicine saves lives, money and pain and suffering,” Lashway said. “I was interested in the global aspect of reaching the population in a proactive way as opposed to a reactive approach.”
She said the professors in the COPH continuously inspired her drive for public health, along with the time she spent as a student during her field experience abroad in Costa Rica.
“The language, culture and contributions of USF towards reaching those in a remote location were lessons that no book could provide,” she said.
However, her time at the COPH was not without challenges. She said starting the program years after starting her professional career presented her with some learning curves.
“Being an older student, my age presented some unique challenges. I have learned that success in education is not about ability but persistence. Never give up,” she said.
Her persistence in education is also evident in her career, where she’s earned the status as a licensed and registered dietitian in the states of Florida and Nevada.
Upon graduating from the COPH, she decided to continue her public health path and earned her DrPH in environmental occupational health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
She said she is proud to see that the COPH has since expanded to offer a DrPH program.
Lashway is currently serving as a practice manager and dietetic consultant across the state of Florida and recalls her time at the COPH as being so fulfilling that she persuades all she comes into contact with to consider the USF COPH as their first choice for expanding upon their public health education.
“I have encouraged many students to pursue their education at USF,” she said. “I am proud to say that a couple of professionals took my advice, enrolled and completed degrees.”
Lashway said as a consultant she hopes to spread the message of the significant relationship between dietetics and public health.
“I plan to lecture to the dietetic community about the importance of public health and the need to expand career choices to integrate dietetics into other disciplines,” she said.
COPH Alumni Fast Five:
What did you dream of becoming when you were young?
Where would we find you on the weekend?
At home doing homework or writing papers/articles.
What is the last book you read?
Jodi Picoult’s “Small Great Things.”
What superpower would you like to have?
What’s your all-time favorite movie?
“The Godfather.” My uncle appears in the movie.
Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health