TACOMA, Wash.—Washington State University Extension Educator Karen Barale has been named the 2012 Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The award, the highest honor given by the Washington Academy, recognizes a dietitian who has demonstrated leadership and served as an outstanding role model of professionalism and as a source of inspiration to others in dietetics.
Barale was honored Monday at the Washington and Oregon Academy annual meeting in Vancouver.
“There is no one more deserving as Karen Barale for the Outstanding Dietitian of the Year for the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,” said Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom, program director for WSU Extension’s Youth and Families unit. “We are so proud of her accomplishments, her drive and her leadership. Karen makes a difference in the lives of countless families through her leadership in nutrition education programs such as EFNEP [Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program] and Food $ense in Pierce County and beyond.”
Barale provides continuing education for nutrition staff in the Pierce County Extension office. Since 2004, she has taught more than 65 classes for staff, ranging from gluten intolerance to vitamin D to seafood safety.
As state EFNEP leader, Barale teaches a number of sessions for statewide training. Some classes include cultural food choices, writing success stories, recipe selection and evaluation, and using checklists to improve teaching. She is also a statewide trainer for Evaluation Based Program Design, a logic model-based program used across Extension for program planning.
Since 2006, Barale has taught a yearly class on facilitated dialogue and adult learning principles for WSU dietetic interns and/or University of Washington students earning a master’s in public health.
With a professional career spanning 37 years, Barale also dedicates significant time to career guidance for future dietitians. As a dietetic internship preceptor for four different internships over the past seven years, she has guided more than 25 interns and students.
“One of the most important tasks of a preceptor is to assure that interns receive the guidance they need to be successful,” Barale said. “I consistently provide the opportunity for interns to discuss various job opportunities and share strategies for networking in their desired area.”
From 2006-11, 2-4 interns a year from Sea Mar Community Health Centers have completed community nutrition rotations with Barale. During that same time, four UW master’s students completed fieldwork experience as well as community nutrition rotations (10 weeks each) at WSU Extension. Five additional UW and WSU interns have also completed community nutrition rotations with her.
Barale was instrumental in expanding community nutrition rotations in the Spokane and King County Extension offices, increasing the number of interns who could be placed. She has also been a member of two UW graduate student advising committees.
Equally active in the Washington Academy, Barale has held numerous positions for the statewide organization, including president, treasurer and newsletter editor. As academy president, she was instrumental in establishing the first legislative day in Olympia.
A Fellow of the American Dietetic Association, Barale received a bachelor of science in home economics from WSU in 1973, completed a dietetic internship from the University of California at San Francisco in 1974 and received a master of science in nutrition from UW in 1980.