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Dr. Rita JohnsonDr. Rita Johnson’s focus is on students and helping them achieve more than they think they are able. Her philosophy is to “teach for the future.” Following this philosophy, her assignments provide opportunities for students to find resources and experiences that apply what they learn in the classroom. One of the most successful is the annual service-learning assignment—the Community Nutrition Food Drive that benefits the local community action agency. Having an almost 20-year history, it raises the equivalent of over 30,000 pounds of food each year.

Just as students learn for the future, Dr. Johnson challenges herself to learn more about many subjects. She served on two committees of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—Quality Management and Scope of Dietetic Practice Framework. She also authored a commentary about folic-acid metabolism and genetics for a major nutrition text.

Dr. Johnson’s regular teaching assignments include the following topics: professional standards and expectations of food and nutrition professionals, nutrition and biochemistry, sports nutrition, community nutrition, public policy, and career development for food and nutrition professionals. She is the Department chairperson, the undergraduate director of the Dietetics program and the faculty coordinator of the clinical rotation of the post-graduate Dietetic Internship.

Dr. Johnson has received numerous award and honors that include the Outstanding Dietitian of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists Achievement Award, Achievement Award from Ball State University, Keystone Award from the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association, Recognition of Service to the Indiana County Community Action Program, and Outstanding Dietetics Educator from Dietetic Educators of Practitioners. Her recent professional development includes presentations and attendance to the Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition; Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutritionists Symposium; and annual meetings of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association. Dr. Johnson is also a Certified Sports Specialist in Dietetics.

Dr. Johnson earned a B.S. in Dietetics and Chemical Technology at Ball State University, an M.S. in Food and Nutrition from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Johnson’s vita provides more detail about her accomplishments.

Areas of Interest

Professional issues, nutrition for the elderly, career planning for dietetic students, public policy and legislation, service learning, nutrient supplementation

  • Food and Nutrition Department
  • Ackerman Hall, Room 102
    911 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-4440
  • Fax: 724-357-3007
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.