College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines

Updates for students, alumni, and supporters

Nutrition & Dietetics Welcomes New Faculty

This past year, the UND Department of Nutrition & Dietetics was excited to welcome faculty additions, Brenna Swanson and Nathaniel Johnson. Learn a bit more about them in their bios below!

Brenna Swanson

Brenna Swanson, MS, RDN, LRD, CDCES, NBC-HWC is a clinical instructor at the University of North Dakota (UND). Although not new to UND, she is new in a full-time role. She received her Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from North Dakota State University which included completing the coordinated dietetics program. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a Master of Science in Food and Nutrition and worked with the Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children and Early Head Start. Much of her career was spent engaged in a variety of rural dietitian experiences across the lifespan including hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, and community wellness. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. Teaching & Learning, emphasis higher education program. She works flex time for a local critical access hospital/rural health clinic.

Health and wellness coaching (HWC) has been a game changer for her career and is her greatest interest area. Health benefits are shown when HWC is applied to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, leading to improved outcomes. Long term these improved outcomes have the potential to decrease health care costs. Brenna is an instructor in UND’s Health and Wellness Coaching Certificate program. Her dissertation proposal explores instruction in the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching programs.

Living on small grain farms most of her life, she also has an interest in rural health issues including food access, nutritious food access year-round, and the health of the farmer. A third area of interest is mental health and nutrition with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression found in her family tree. Her hobbies include hiking (especially in National and State Parks), fishing, skiing, traveling, yoga, reading, writing, great conversations, and supporting her kids and husband in their many activities.

Dr. Nathaniel Johnson

Nathaniel Johnson is a recent graduate, earning his doctorate in Nutrition and Exercise Sciences from North Dakota State University in May 2022. Dr. Johnson grew up in the Twin Cities metro area and attended St. Anthony High School where he enjoyed participating in high school sports, music, and plays. He pursued an undergraduate degree in Nutrition at St. John’s University, graduating summa cum laude in 2016. Dr. Johnson worked for one year before starting work on a doctorate in 2017.  He was the winner of his department’s and college’s research awards and is looking forward to further developing a comprehensive interdisciplinary research agenda at the University of North Dakota and with Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center.

He lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with his dear wife, Meghan, and dog, Murphy. He enjoys sports, loves dogs, and is happy to be expecting his first child, a son, this summer.



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