Negin and Annika On Creating Numena, Building a Community, & More [Part 1]

Welcome to Numena Nutrition! Thanks for visiting and we hope the following dialogue gives you a sneak peek as to who and what we are all about.


TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE AS A REGISTERED DIETITIAN


Negin Ebrahimifard (NE) - Working as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) for the past 7 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a spectrum of populations: from premature babies to geriatric patients, from ICU to outpatient, trauma, surgery, brain injuries, chronic diseases, cancer and GI disorders. I have also worked as an outpatient RDN in a Diabetes Clinic and have provided both group and individual consultations for this program while working in Long Beach, California. I have worked at three hospitals: Banner University in Tucson, AZ, St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, and UW Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. This large variety in clinical nutrition motivated me to obtain two certifications both in diabetes care (Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist - CDCES) and nutrition support (Certified Nutrition Support Clinician - CNSC).


Annika Garman (AG) - I have worked at Harborview for my entire career as a dietitian. Wow, how time flies. Harborview is a beautiful place; And, serving the region’s most vulnerable, marginalized and sick population for the past 9 years has taught me so much about people, health systems, disease process, clinical nutrition, myself, the list goes on and on. A few years ago I went to an ASDAH (Associate for Size Diversity and Health) conference in Portland with my sister who is also a dietitian. This trauma-informed, socially-aware, fat-positive space gave me more lenses to see how one’s ease (or dis-ease) manifests. I am so excited to take the robust clinical knowledge I’ve developed in a hospital setting plus this inclusive and socially-informed approach to help others feel good about eating and maybe even feel good about themselves.


TELL US ABOUT NUMENA’S ROOTS


NE - Truth be told, the idea of Numena goes way back to 2017. I had this vision to start a private practice before I had my first child. While I had many ideas about what I wanted to do, I lacked the confidence to take a step away from clinical, the world of nutrition I felt most comfortable. Then I had a baby and, well, I just lost track of time.

It wasn’t until recently that I met Annika while working at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. I had been looking for a partner that not only was a true friend and mentor, but someone that truly believed in cultivating a long lasting relationship with patients. While the clinical setting is inspiring and rewarding, I believe Annika and I are ready to create a system and practice that promotes healing from the root and not a temporary band-aid or fix until next time. When I met Annika I knew that this would be the perfect partnership. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with not only a great friend, but a compassionate, knowledgeable, and devoted practitioner, and an individual that truly wants to shift and re-build our healthcare system.


AG - I met Negin right around the time I was taking a deep dive into Health at Every Size. I had a new found path and passion within dietetics - to do my part in deconstructing diet culture, to find meaningful solutions that call for tangible change and lead to real liberation. But I knew in order to do this, it must be built.

I adored Negin from the start. Yes, I am excited about Numena. But what’s more is, I am thrilled to embark on this journey with someone as knowledgeable, compassionate, dedicated as Negin. She is such a source of confidence and motivation for me; I’m so grateful!


WHAT DOES NUMENA STAND FOR?


NE - Numena is a nutrition phenomena - progressive movement towards practicing intuitive and mindful eating with respect to an individual’s cultural, religious, medical, and personal experiences. I fell in love with nutrition because of its dynamic of being scientifically complex, yet flexible. Nutrition is everything but black and white, and Numena aims to target the entire spectrum and evolve as new evidenced based practice develops.

I have always wanted to provide a service to my community to show others that food can be a comforting, healing, and positive component of our lives. After years of contemplating starting Numena, now is the time to debut this new concept and take the next step towards helping others with their nutritional goals and needs.


WHAT WILL YOU DO AT NUMENA? WHY SHOULD WE BE EXCITED ABOUT ITS LAUNCH?


NE - We will help heal and build confidence for individuals to navigate their nutrition and well-being through compassion-based care, education, and empowerment. We are looking to create a safe space and environment not only for our clients but for our friends, families, and communities.


AG - Oh man, how much time do you have?? At its core, I am thrilled to be providing a form of nutrition expertise that is rooted in the knowledge that health, well-ness or dis-ease are not a product of morality or willpower nor do they define our goodness or worth. There are many complexities that add to the environment of the food we have access to and/or choose and the well-ness that is available to us. At Numena, we will not only educate but empower individuals to address their well-being free of the harmful, paternalistic lens of health. What’s that mean?? We won’t provide diet prescriptions, but rather unlearn and relearn what, how, when to nourish ourselves. It’s going to be beautiful liberation work.


To be continued...

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