Spotlight on a Member: Rachel Sapelli

Rachel Sapelli

1. What is your educational background?
After graduating high school, I moved to Boston where I attended Simmons College for a BS/MS degree in nutrition and health promotion. I completed my dietetic internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

2. How did you get involved in the nutrition field?
Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a family medicine practitioner who focused on preventative care, functional medicine, and nutrition. Both he and my parents were great role models as I became interested in learning more about this field. Remembering back, I wrote one of my first high school research papers on organic farming practices-- already a nutrition nerd!
Given my interest in functional medicine and nutrition counseling, I thought that the field of oncology nutrition could be a good fit for me. Once I began my internship rotations at Dana-Farber and in the inpatient oncology units at the Brigham, I knew that I had found my place. Ever since, I have dedicated myself to learning more and more about supporting patients with cancer and their families.

3. What are you presently doing in the nutrition field?
I am the oncology dietitian at the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. I also work part-time as an inpatient clinical dietitian at Mercy.

4. What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
It’s great to have a break from the food and fitness world every now and again, so I also work as an independent beauty consultant with Mary Kay. In my free time, I love to hike, cook, and curl up on the couch with my husband and our two cats at the end of a long day.

5. Do you do any volunteer work in the nutrition field or in your community? If so, please describe.
When I first became a dietitian and moved to western MA, I started getting involved with WAMDA and quickly joined the nominating committee board so that I could meet local professionals in my field. I am now serving as the president-elect and will transition to president in the fall. Throughout the year, I love volunteering with many community events through WAMDA and my church in Somers. I am looking forward to another successful WAMDA 5K Road Race this year!

6. Is there anything else you would like to do in your career?
I am grateful to be in a field with so many opportunities for new paths and advancement. As for now, I am working to advance my oncology practice by pursuing a board certification as a specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO). I hope to use my specialty to improve oncology programs and better support my patients in the future.