Monica Bojko, MS, RD, CSO, LDN was interviewed by member volunteer Amy Rod, MS, RD, CSO, CDN.Monica is the Nominating Chair-Elect for the ON DPG
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the small town of Skaneateles, in Upstate NY. The name is from the Iroquois term for the adjacent Skaneateles Lake, which means "long lake." I also lived in New York City for ten years.
Where do you live and work now?
I currently live in Chicago. I completed my internship at Rush University Medical Center and have worked as a clinical dietitian there since my graduation four and a half years ago.
Where did you receive your nutrition degree?
I received my bachelor’s degree in nutrition from City University of New York-Brooklyn College and my Master of Science Degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University.
Why did you get into oncology nutrition?
During my internship, I already knew that I wanted to work in the clinical setting but fell in love with the oncology population because the patients are so passionate about nutrition and highly motivated to make changes in order to feel better, improve their eating, and maintain their weight. I find this work very enjoyable and incredibly meaningful because this is an area where we can significantly help people.
What current topic in oncology nutrition is an interest to you?
I am currently involved in a study researching physical activity & quality of life markers and their association with sarcopenia in metastatic breast cancer patients using survey data and CT scans. I am also working on many ongoing quality improvement projects in the head & neck cancer population, including evaluating the timing of feeding tube placement.
What are a few of your hobbies?
I love reading mystery/thriller/suspense novels and discussing them with co-workers. I enjoy movies, and I also really like taking barre and yoga classes.
What is your favorite food?
Pizza and buffalo chicken wings. I love food in general and consider myself a “relaxed foodie”. I especially like trying new foods. When I travel, I always enjoy sampling the native cuisine.
What is your "favorite" nutrition myth?
I enjoy discussing the “alkaline diet” with patients because while I can promote eating the fruits & vegetables it recommends, I can also explain through biochemistry why the proposed mechanism is not scientifically sound.
Do you have any future/long term career goals?
I want to continue to add to the body of literature in the field of oncology nutrition research. I also enjoy the significant amount of precepting that I do and want to keep contributing to the future of the profession in this way. However, because I was especially drawn to this field based on the vast number of roles a dietitian can hold, I can see myself working in an oncology-related but non-traditional position. For instance, I would love to create a meal preparation business that specifically helps cancer patients manage symptoms while receiving nutritious meals.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Nutrition is my second career. I received a degree in drama from New York University but was always interested in biology. When I decided that the theater lifestyle was not for me, I happened to be reading a lot of books on healthy eating and realized that my interest in nutrition was more than just a hobby.
Amy Rod, MS, RD, CSO, CDN is an inpatient dietitian at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She previously worked at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY and Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA prior to that. She completed her dietetic internship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA.