Goodwin, assistant professor of nutrition in Jacksonville State
University's Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, has been
named head of the department.
received her B.S. in administrative dietetics from JSU and her
Dr. Debra Goodwin
health education and Ph. D. in health education and health promotion
from the University of Alabama. She and her husband Philip live
in Cropwell, Ala., on Logan Martin Lake.
on a farm in Albertville, Dr. Goodwin became enamored by the idea
of one day attending JSU. She said reading her rural town's local
paper, The Sand Mountain Reporter, which always printed articles
and photos about JSU students, sparked her interest in the university.
After completing two years at Snead State Junior College, she
transferred to JSU.
was leaning toward the field of home economics as a major, Dr.
Goodwin became hooked on dietetics after having heard Dr. Elizabeth
Sowell, a former JSU nutrition professor, speak passionately about
the subject. Dr. Sowell also helped her new student get a part-time
job at Regional Medical Center in Anniston while she completed
the program at JSU.
obtained her master's degree and worked at the University of Alabama
in Birmingham as a renal dietitian for about three years when
she was asked to join the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
at JSU. Having little classroom experience at this time, Dr. Goodwin
credits much of her learning and newly found love of teaching
to Dr. Virginia Yocum, whose shoes she now fills as department
"I came back
to teach at JSU because of my love for the university, my love
of its people, and my love of my subject area," says Dr. Goodwin.
"Coming from the stimulating environment of UAB, I felt that I
could help further the careers of future dietitians."
is the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics, an accredited
program of the American Dietetic Association. This year, the program
is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Dr. Goodwin became the director
in 1997 after Dr. Sowell's retirement.
help from JSU, Dr. Goodwin returned to the University of Alabama
in Tuscaloosa to work on her doctorate in her late forties and
obtained this goal at age 51. "I think the moral of my story is
that setting a goal and following up with hard work really does
pay off," says Dr. Goodwin. "Plus, you are never too old to realize
is a member of several professional organizations, including the
American Dietetic Association, the American Association of Family
and Consumer Sciences and the National Association for the Study
"In my opinion,"
says Dr. Goodwin, "one of the major health concerns in America
today is the obesity epidemic." A recent article published in
the British Medical Journal suggests that the first three years
of a person's life lays the groundwork for obesity. "Health professionals
obviously need to start very early in one's life to interrupt
the obesity cycle and I believe that parents and young children
should be the major targets of child nutrition education."
reading about JSU and then eventually filling the shoes of the
mentors she worked under at JSU, Dr. Goodwin has fulfilled many
of her life's goals. "My life is intertwined with JSU. I dreamed
about coming to JSU as a small girl and then was fortunate to
be able to attend and graduate from JSU, and now I am in a leadership
role at my alma mater," says Dr. Goodwin. " Dreams really do come
also enjoys traveling and camping with her husband. She plays
the piano and occasionally dabbles at the banjo. Although cooking
is a favorite pastime for her, Dr. Goodwin admits that her husband
is a much better cook.
teaching areas include clinical nutrition, lifecycle nutrition,
advanced nutrition and food preparation. Research interests of
Dr. Goodwin include women's health, adolescent nutrition and the
development of healthy recipes.
One of the
recipes she has used in the department for years is a recipe for
a healthier batch of chicken salad:
1/2 cup chopped
1/2 cup sliced seedless red grapes
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 can low-fat chicken broth
1 can water 4 to 5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
breasts in chicken broth and water over medium heat until tender.
Drain and chop chicken breasts and add remaining ingredients.
Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.