Elise Klopfenstein’s patients often walk in feeling overwhelmed by a new diagnosis, or from incorrect information learned from social media, celebrities, or food and drug advertisements. As a Registered Dietitian at Henry County Health Center, Klopfenstein’s primary role is education. She says, “My hope is that my clients walk away empowered with knowledge, not blindly following my advice, but informed to make healthy choices.”
After leaving her hometown of Fort Madison to pursue undergraduate education out of state, Klopfenstein decided to return to Iowa to make a life in Mount Pleasant. “I wanted to bring the knowledge I had gained in nutrition and healthy lifestyles back to a community where I felt I could be part of the system changes,” she says.
Working as a dietetic intern at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics triggered Klopfenstein’s interest in public health. In 2011, she received her Master of Public Health from the UI College of Public Health where she learned the importance of strategic planning with measurable goals. “It doesn’t matter how great your motives are,” she says. “If you don’t have data to measure or evaluate your efforts, the desired change will not happen.”
Klopfenstein is also a Certified Diabetes Educator for Henry County Health Center and provides individualized education for diabetes, heart disease, weight management, and food intolerances. She focuses on changing food environments and helps define “healthy” for her clients.
She enjoys the life-changing ways that her work is helping others in her community. “From educating on healthy pregnancies, to replicating favorite family recipes for residents at an elder care facility, to working with restaurants to make healthy improvements, to teaching elementary students how a whole grain looks and tastes,” she says. “I love what I do!”