(Media release from Georgia Highlands College):

Recent Georgia Highlands College (GHC) graduate Kristina Von Nordeck is growing her career in healthcare, having spent the last five years in pediatrics and the last 10 years as a Medical Assistant.  

As a 2023 graduate of the Bachelor of Sciences in Health Sciences program, Von Nordeck now serves as a Health Educator at Emory Healthcare, taking charge of responsibilities such as researching and developing health education materials and courses, conducting support groups, community outreach and more. 

Now, her college honor’s project from GHC researching childhood obesity has been implemented at her employer. She explained in her research, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States, and children with elevated body mass indexes at an early age are at risk for poor health in adulthood.  

For children and adolescents aged 2-19 years, Von Nordeck said, obesity was 19.7% and affected about 14.7 million children and adolescents between the years 2019 and 2021. 

“For eight weeks, I followed and evaluated the physical, environmental and nutritional habits of 10 children aged 5-10 of various genders, ages and ethnic backgrounds with elevated BMIs at 90% or above,” Von Nordeck said. “… By promoting and educating children and parents on healthy lifestyle changes at an early age, healthcare providers and parents can reduce the risk of children developing chronic health issues in the future.” 

Von Nordeck said she is “beyond humbled” that her research was chosen as a focus within the practice. 

“Not only did my employer believe in me and recognize the hard work along my journey, but it also showed me that they care about their patients and want them to reach their full potential in life,” she said. 

Von Nordeck is also certified in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life program. 

“My current plan includes graduate school at Samford in their Physician Assistant Program,” Von Nordeck said. “I plan to continue to use Health Education and Nutrition and open a low-income clinic in rural Tennessee for children/adolescents with a sub-focus in neurobehavioral.”   

She said her professors at GHC helped to provide support as she worked toward her degree. In addition, Von Nordeck was able to eliminate some of the cost of her degree at GHC by applying for and receiving institutional scholarships from the GHC Foundation, including the Cook Study Abroad Scholarship, which helped her to study abroad in Scotland.  

“Not only were my professors knowledgeable on subject matter, but each of them also really cared about us being successful and took the time to show they cared about my education,” Von Nordeck said.