The Cancer Nutrition Care Team
Why partner with an Oncology Dietitian?
Registered Dietitians (RDN’s) are food & nutrition experts that are also credentialed health professionals with the ability to provide “Medical Nutrition Therapy”. Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) is an evidence-based approach to treating certain chronic conditions through the use of individually-tailored nutrition plans. MNT provides a course of action that allows clients the opportunity to achieve proper nutrition which can positively impact cancer outcomes.
How we can help you?
Leigh Anne Burns
MS, RDN, LDN
I have been privileged to enjoy the practice of Nutrition and Dietetics for 30 years. These years included my career with LSUHSC Medical School practicing 12 years in Monroe LSU EA Conway then 15 years until my retirement in 2017 as faculty for LSUHSC Medical School New Orleans. During this time my career opportunities with the University varied working as a Nutrition Specialist and participating in the development and operations in a Cancer and Prevention Program “Partners in Wellness” and was a team lead with LSUHSC Statewide Disease management Cancer Screening and Prevention, and Wellness team for 18 years.
Working with Oncology patients became a focus in my career 1990 caring for cancer patients in both inpatient and outpatient services. I realized early if I could improve patient’s nutrition intake and tolerances to treatments could improve quality of life for patients and their caretakers. This still plays true today.
In 2002 I began my career with LSU Oncology team with LSU New Orleans which included a specialist in Neuroendocrine Tumor Treatment thus began my career working with patients diagnosed with NET Tumors. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, we joined efforts with an extraordinary Group of LSUHSC Medical School Surgeons, Nurses and Patient care members and developed NET clinic in New Orleans “The NET Dream Team”. This allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow in my understanding and the nutritional needs of patients living with the nutritional challenges which often accompany these diseases.
Since my retired from LSUHSC Medical School New Orleans in 2017 and have enjoyed a private consulting business in long term care but I have missed the opportunity to work with NET patients and families. I look forward to beginning my practice with Cancer Nutrition Care which has offered a wonderful opportunity to provide education and cancer care as well as a mentor for younger Registered Dietitians interested in a focus in Neuroendocrine Tumor Patient Care. During the past 18 years I have enjoyed many opportunities providing resource material and education for both healthcare providers and the general population with the hope of improving the understanding of NET treatment and development of nutritional care guidelines.
Retirement is filled with enjoying my Family including 5 Grandchildren, 3 children a wonderful supportive husband and a very spoiled puppy. I enjoy fishing, gardening, and relaxing on the river in a small town north of New Orleans where we live life grateful for each day. And as we say in South Louisiana “Les a Bon Temps Roule” – Let the Good Times Roll.
Growing up, I always knew that I loved all things food: eating it, cooking it, sharing it. However, it was not until I accidentally bumped into a nutrition professor in college, that I realized that I could make a career of it! I started my professional studies in the fall of 2011 at Central Michigan University, and by spring 2014, I had earned my Bachelor of Science Degree, majoring in Dietetics. I was accepted into Graduate School at Central Michigan University where I completed my clinical rotations and passed my board certification exam to officially be credentialed as a Registered Dietitian.
I started practicing as a dietitian in the summer of 2015. I worked briefly as a Clinical Nutrition Manager, for a long term care facility, but quickly transitioned into a role as an outpatient oncology dietitian, and I have never looked back. I earned my CSO credential in the fall of 2019, and to this day, I am even more certain that the field of oncology is exactly where my heart resides.
Working with oncology patients and their loved ones has provided me so much more than a paycheck, but a sense of purpose, belonging and community. It is true when they say, “you will never fight alone,” and I know that I am beyond blessed to be a part of so many peoples’ journeys and to be by their side as they fight the good fight.
My husband and I live in a small town west of Traverse City, Michigan. We share our home with 100 pounds of pure fluff and love, our dog Murphy. When we are not working, we can often be found exploring local beaches, hiking, following a wild hair, or road tripping through the back roads of Northern Michigan.
MS, RDN, CSO, LDN
Oncology nutrition is my passion, and this is something that I discovered almost twenty years ago, and I have not wavered. My career path has provided me with tremendous opportunities to serve the cancer community, including working in hospitals, non-profit wellness, research studies, and culinary collaborations. Naturally, my journey has led me to join the CNC team, because I believe that every single person diagnosed with cancer should have a dietitian on their team. Our virtual reach will afford this opportunity to more patients and caregivers.
Upon learning the fact that not every cancer patient has the chance to work with a dietitian, I felt inspired to pursue a Master’s Degree to improve the current situation. Statistics have shown a lack of access to oncology dietitians. I believe that anyone affected by cancer should have the opportunity to work with a dietitian who is a board certified specialist in oncology nutrition. The CNC team, comprised of dietitians who have earned this specialty credential, are a passionate group of dietitians that are eager to empower patients with the advantage of nourishment through all stages of their cancer care. Because there has been an increased awareness in the
critical value of nutrition for all cancer patients, this is an exciting time!
My approach, when working with patients, is to partner with them to make decisions together, rather than telling them what to eat or not eat. Some refer to me as the “Permission Dietitian.” One of the most rewarding aspects of my career has been witnessing the transformation a person makes when exploring the potential of optimal nutrition. Nutrition promotes health in every aspect of their life! Yes, food is essential for life, but deciding what to eat is an act of
self-care, it connects us with others, and it empowers our lives. I believe that food is more than just nutrition.
I am an East Coast transplant living in Chicago’s North Shore, where I still reap the benefits of vast farm markets in the summer, and I begrudgingly manage the winter with sips of warm tea and steaming bowls of soup. As a former semi-pro soccer player, I maintain my need for activity by running with my dogs, golfing with my husband, and riding bikes with the kids.
RDN, CSO, LDN
I am a registered and licensed dietitian that has been practicing dietetics since 2004. I was born in Guatemala, and emigrated to the United States with my family when I was eight years old. I am fluent in English and Spanish. Growing up in Guatemala and also in southern Florida, has afforded me a rich cultural background.
I graduated from Florida International University, and I completed my dietetic internship with the Florida Department of Health. My specialty is oncology, and I am a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition. I have spent over half of my career educating cancer patients, having worked at the American Cancer Society, and also at a large cancer institute in Hollywood, Florida. As part of my practice, I have been significantly involved in community outreach, facilitating many cancer prevention programs, with the goal to translate evidence-based nutrition science into practical advice for patients. I love helping patients navigate the challenging cancer-nutrition world.
When I am not working with patients, I am advocating for them. As an active member of the Florida Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics I have held the positions of Awards Chair and Public Policy Coordinator for the state of Florida. As the Public Policy Coordinator, I advocated for nutrition and public health programs within the state of Florida, and on the national level with members of Congress.
I love spending time with my two children and all of the craziness and silliness that comes with it. Family time is the best and food is a huge component of our everyday lives. Food and eating is fun and enjoyable for my family, and I want to help my patients experience the same in their home.