Meet Hiral Salla!

When I created the position of Field Reporter for Libby’s Luncheonette, it was opening a door for dietetic interns from Thomas Jefferson University research the topics, develop talk points and secure interviews that will help “tell the story”.  The position would have significant creative independence within the sustainable theme.  

In the fall of 2023, Natasha Ashley, Program Coordinator for the Nutrition and Dietetic Practice (MS/RDN) Program Thomas Jefferson University gave me a call. One of her students has expressed interest in the position.   I thought, “Oh boy!!”   

Hiral Salla, was my first Field Reporter/ Intern to take the mic and run with it. And boy did she run creating a 4-Part Sustainability Series to help celebrate The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month 2024  “Beyond the Table”.

Looking forward to fresh a perspective, I was rewarded with one of the most exceptional students perfect for the position.  Passionate, thoughtful, and able to probe deep into topics with experts, entrepreneurs and activists to uncover truths, perspectives and next steps that don’t always grab the spotlight of mainstream media.

Hiral filled her time with extraordinary, exclusive conversations that created not often seen thread of sustainability.  Her conversations surpassed passed farm to table themes and were a perfect fit into this year’s National Nutrition Month platform “Beyond the Table.”  Don’t miss her broadcasting and streaming live Mondays from 12:15-1:00 PM ET at 95.3 FM or 1520 AM.  Or listen and subscribe to the iHeart podcast.

Be sure to listen and meet Hiral Salla!

Libby:  Where did your passion for sustainability begin?

Hiral:  I grew up in India, a country rich in culture and diversity.  Growing up I witnessed how more and more people were moving away from real food and seeking help in medicines. Coming from a country that has a rich background of Ayurveda – plant medicine, I wanted to explore how food played a role in human physiology. Ever since then my mission was to redirect an ecosystem from prescription to plate. I envision a world where people feel empowered in their food choices again.

Libby:  You bring tremendous nutrition experience to your graduate program in Nutrition and Dietetics at Thomas Jefferson University.

Hiral:  Yes.  I am a practicing Registered Dietitian in India, currently enrolled in Thomas Jefferson University’s graduate program in Nutrition and Dietetics. I completed my fellowship in pediatric oncology from International Society of Pediatric Oncology in 2016, after which I gained extensive experience in pediatric oncology nutrition, specialized in treating malnutrition and type-1 diabetes patients. 

My passion in food and physiology drives me to play a crucial role in managing clinical patients as well as providing resources to enrich the community through my services and education.

Libby: Earlier this year, Hiral, you invited me to the Nutrition Science Graduate Research Symposium at Thomas Jefferson University.  I was glad to go with my friend and fellow dietitian Deborah Schweon to support you and past inters Kiley Keenan, Amanda Johnson, and Christiana MacNeil.

I want to give a shout out, I was impressed! In your talk, you outlined clinical guidelines for the management of hyperglycemia in preterm neonates, talked about insulin infusion considerations and revealed a potential protocol to titrate insulin infusion rates.  You showed how evidence based nutrition management saves lives, particularly of the most vulnerable babies.

Hiral:  Thank you.

Libby:  What is your secret to success?

Hiral:  My recipe to successfully practice ‘clinical nutrition’ lies in three ingredients – 1. serving the community with an aim of improving pediatric health, 2. practicing in a clinical setting, 3. to be able to see patients holistically in her private practice. I’m a life-long learner and therefore new ideas and experiments never cease to excite me. I have found new interest in learning nutrition genomics – how nutrition plays a role in human genes. 

Libby:  What do you do for fun?

Hiral:  Apart from nutrition and dietetics, I enjoys learning skills like mixed martial arts, yoga, and meditation. 

Each Monday in March, Hiral Salla brings her passion, conscientiousness, care and joy into each interview telling a story of sustainability “Beyond the Table”.  You can catch the show live Mondays from 12:15-1:00 PM ET streaming live or at 95.3 FM or 1520 AM.  If you miss the show, listen to the iHeart podcast and be sure to subscribe.