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Lipscomb dietetics alumna is busy serving the community as manager at Second Harvest

Alexis Trice is manager of hunger and health at one of the nation’s largest food banks.

Shelby Bratcher  | 

Lexi Trice packing food at Second Harvest

Less than a year after completing Lipscomb University’s Dietetics Internship Program in the 2021 cohort, alumna Alexis Trice (’20) has taken on a leadership role to help underserved populations throughout Nashville get the nutrition they need to stay healthy and successful. 

Longtime Nashvillians are well aware of Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee, one of the largest and most extensive food banks nationwide, serving 46 counties in Tennessee. Now, Trice, an honors graduate who stood out during her college career for her efforts to encourage diversity in the local dietetics profession, now serves as the full-time manager of hunger and health at Second Harvest.

Last year alone, Second Harvest distributed over 41 million pounds of food to numerous partner agencies. 

Davidson County could not be more in need of what Second Harvest has to offer. Last year Trice and a fellow classmate conducted a research survey on use of area food banks during the pandemic, and found alarming levels of food insecurity

“Davidson County food insecurity ranks among the top 25% of the worst counties in Tennessee, and falls into the second worst quartile for every county in the United States,” the then-students wrote in their abstract for the study.

Not only did Trice carry out the study including Second Harvest that year, she also completed a rotation with the organization during her internship. 

“Second Harvest is a nonprofit organization that serves the community, and this mission aligned with my personal and professional goals. I always had a desire to serve the community that I grew up in,” said Trice, who grew up in the Antioch area of Nashville. “I felt that working in a food bank would allow me to be an active part of my community. Within this position, I can combine my passion for nutrition and service to the community.” 

Prior to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trice’s position carried a lot of in-person community outreach providing nutrition education to various partner agencies and performing cooking demonstrations. 

“Now, (face-to-face) community involvement is limited and looks more like providing recipe cards and nutrition education handouts to sites,” explained Trice. “We are hopeful, however, that we will eventually get the opportunity to go back out into the community to provide nutrition education.” 

In a typical workday, Trice will also supervise dietetic interns from Lipscomb and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. This is one of her favorite parts of her job due to the fact that she herself served as an intern less than a year ago. “It means a lot to be a mentor to the next generation of dietitians,” she said.

Additionally, Trice manages grant opportunities, ranks and tracks nutritional quality of foods and collaborates and consults with all food bank departments of nutrition. 

Alexis Trice at Second Harvest

"Within this position, I can combine my passion for nutrition and service to the community," said Trice, the manager of hunger and health at Second Harvest.

During her baccalaureate studies at Lipscomb,  Trice worked  to increase opportunities for nutrition students in underrepresented racial categories in Nashville’s dietetic field.  During her senior year, Trice and a classmate decided to start Nashville’s first chapter of Diversifying Dietetics. 

Diversify Dietetics is an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to increasing diversity in the field of nutrition by empowering students and young professionals from underrepresented minority groups to join the next generation of nutrition experts. Covid-19 has limited the young group’s activities for the past couple of years, but Trice hopes to restart meetings when in-person events are permitted by the organization again. 
  
“The field of nutrition and dietetics is historically non-diverse which can create unfortunate barriers for minority nutrition students to complete the steps to achieve licensure. Nutrition is cultural and not one-size-fits-all. Therefore, diversity in nutrition is critical to ensure that nutrition education is given without one having to sacrifice their cultural foods and traditions,” said Trice. 

“The most rewarding element with starting the Nashville chapter was meeting other students who have a shared sense of ideas and practices. Also, sharing some of the struggles that diverse students encounter provided a true sense of belonging.

“For students from diverse backgrounds trying to succeed in the field of dietetics, I recommend connecting with registered dietitians who are also from diverse backgrounds,” Trice said. “Seek out a mentor and join groups that are dedicated to diversifying the field of dietetics. Social media is a great tool to find and connect with dietitians and dietetics students from various backgrounds which can help you find a sense of belonging in the field.”