NYU Steinhardt News

National Nutrition Month Profile: Brianna Wieser (BS ‘13)

As we near the end of National Nutrition Month, we spoke with Brianna Wieser, an alumna of NYU Steinhardt’s BS in Nutrition/Food Studies program with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics. She currently works as a outpatient dietitian at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. 

Tell us about yourself and what initially brought you to the Nutrition and Food Studies department. 
I was initially attracted to the Nutrition and Food Studies Department at NYU Steinhardt because of its national reputation for excellence and all of the professors who are actively involved in nutrition research, food politics, and the media. Upon learning more about the program, I was impressed by the smaller program size, the ability to develop a true relationship with your advisor and professors, and its location in the heart of New York City where food culture is rich.

Did you come to NYU as a career-changer, or have you always been in the food and nutrition space?
I am a former dancer and current registered yoga teacher. After many years of dancing professionally in the US and abroad, I realized that I wanted to have a career where I could help facilitate sustainable behavior change. I come from a long line of health enthusiasts and have always loved cooking, going to farmers markets, and learning about the healing potential of food. Nutrition felt like a way that I could draw from my past experiences while challenging myself in a new way.

Tell us a little bit about your current position.
I am grateful to work as an outpatient dietitian at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation where I provide nutrition for recovery via individual consultations, group classes, cooking demonstrations, and lectures. Many people who struggle with substance use often abandon healthy lifestyle patterns while in active use. This results in weight changes, digestive issues, macro/micro nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, and a host of other nutrition-related health concerns. 30 percent of patients who come into treatment for substance use also have co-occurring eating disorders, and another large percentage of this population have had gastric bypass surgery. The field of nutrition and recovery is in its infancy, and I enjoy being a part of an emerging branch of nutrition and seeing the power it has as lifestyle medicine.

What is your favorite memory from your time at NYU Steinhardt?
My favorite memories from NYU happened late at night at Bobst library. My friends and I would essentially camp out for hours in preparation for exams and would take breaks in the hallway to refuel. We had so many laughs during these meal breaks. Slightly delirious, but ultimately sharing a closeness that got us through even organic chemistry and physiology.

How do you think your time at NYU Steinhardt shaped your career path?
My time at NYU Steinhardt inspired me to be an agent of change in this world. It challenged me to dive into everything I studied and think critically and creatively. It gave me the confidence to pursue my Dietetic Internship at Mayo Clinic and provided me with lifelong friends who are all practicing nutrition in various parts of the country. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to study at NYU Steinhardt and for all of the wonderful professors in the program.