Meet Michelle

Nov 30, 2017

Our featured IPE faculty member for December 2017 is Michelle Averill, lecturer,
researcher and clinical coordinator for the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics.

Michelle Averill, PhD, RD has been at the University of Washington since 1999. She received her undergraduate degree in cellular/molecular biology (2002) and her PhD in nutritional sciences (2007). After receiving her PhD, she worked as a post-doc in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition in the Department of Medicine. In 2013, Michelle left the lab to pursue her Registered Dietitian Nutrition (RDN) credentials and is now a lecturer with the Nutritional Sciences Program. In addition to lecturing (Nutr 562, 559, 511 and 310), she conducts research and is the clinical coordinator for the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Washington School of Public Health. In this capacity, she prepares students for their clinical experiences and she works with clinical preceptors to help prepare future registered dietitians.

Michelle’s current research projects include:

  • Diet and HDL Composition: the effect of a high fat versus a high carbohydrate meal on the proteome and lipidome in the postprandial state.
  • Urinary sodium-to-potassium ratio and CVD: Study looking at the relationship between sodium and potassium with CVD endpoints, using urinary measures as biomarkers of dietary intake in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort.
  • Whole Food Tube Feeding Study: pilot randomized controlled trial comparing standard versus whole foods based enteral nutrition formulas in patients undergoing surgery for head and neck cancer.
  • Achievement gap study: determining the extent of an achievement gap in an undergraduate public health science course.

Michelle is the President Elect for the North West Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. She now serves as a faculty representative on the UW Health Sciences Interprofessional Education (IPE) Steering Committee, developing new IPE curricula and planning IPE events for health sciences students.

We interviewed Michelle about her work as an interprofessional educator at the UW. Read our interview below.

CHSIE: Michelle, how and why did you become involved with Interprofessional Education (IPE)/Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP)?

Michelle: In 2013 the UW Graduate Coordinated Program in dietetics participated in the IPE Foundations Series for that year. After seeing how positive the experience was for many of the dietetic students, I grew increasingly interested in IPE at the UW. While my participation in IPE started with a focus on developing the dietetic student’s skill set in the clinical setting, I feel most excited at the opportunity to find ways to include public health in IPE. Through incorporating public health into IPE at UW I hope students will see the value in collaboration between professions that work at the individual and population level.

CHSIE: What do you believe are the benefits of IPE/IPCP?

Michelle: IPE at UW gives the students an excellent opportunity to engage with other professions in a way that promotes the core competencies of interprofessional practice. IPE helps students see the value in strong interprofessional teams, and I believe the students have more confidence in their abilities to participate and communicate with other care providers on a team once they start working in clinical and community sites. It also improves the collaboration and perspective of the faculty working on IPE curriculum, allowing each of us to learn more about the other disciplines that we can then pass on to our students in the classroom and in our own practice.

CHSIE: What has been the most memorable experience or highlight of leading IPE/IPCP so far?

Michelle: Every year I hear from the dietetic students that they appreciate the opportunity to work with other students. They are excited to share their expertise in the cases and walk away feeling valued as a member of the team. I see a noticeable increase in their confidence to move towards their clinical internships, and that is a gratifying outcome.

For more information about the Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Washington, go to