Associate Professor, Nutrition Department, Life University (Life U)

“Exploring Culinary Nutrition with Dr. Denise Pickett-Bernard at Life University”

Today, we shine a spotlight on one of the innovative minds in our Nutrition Department, Dr. Denise Pickett-Bernard. As an Associate Professor at Life University’s (Life U) Department of Nutrition, Dr. Pickett-Bernard brings a wealth of experience and passion to her work, shaped by her diverse background and profound commitment to holistic health.

Originally from just outside Boston, Massachusetts, Dr. Pickett-Bernard’s journey into the world of nutrition was influenced by her upbringing and her insatiable curiosity about different cultures and their cuisines. Reflecting on her early years, she shares, “If you’re living in what I call the monoculture, you just aren’t exposed to other people and ideas.” This thirst for diversity led her to explore the healing properties and flavorful delights of various global cuisines.

After spending two decades in the vibrant melting pot of south Florida, Dr. Pickett-Bernard, along with her family, embarked on a new chapter in Roswell, Georgia. It was here that she found her professional home at Life U. Recalling her first encounter with the campus and the Nutrition Department, she describes it as a “match made in heaven.” The state-of-the-art facilities and the vibrant community resonated deeply with her passion for culinary nutrition.

Dr. Pickett-Bernard’s journey to academia was preceded by diverse experiences, including a stint in the restaurant industry and a detour into culinary school. However, it was her realization of the profound impact of nutrition on overall well-being that steered her towards a degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Rhode Island, followed by an internship at Brown University Teaching Hospitals.

Her academic pursuits culminated in a Ph.D. in Leadership from Barre University where she delved into the factors influencing weight control maintenance, exploring realms of spirituality and willpower. This multidisciplinary approach laid the foundation for her holistic understanding of nutrition and its pivotal role in health and wellness.

At Life U, Dr. Pickett-Bernard’s contributions extend beyond the classroom. As an active member of the Nutrition Club and contributor to the Life U garden, she embodies the university’s commitment to experiential learning and community engagement. The utilization of fresh produce from the campus garden underscores her emphasis on integrating theory with practice.

One of the hallmarks of Dr. Pickett-Bernard’s tenure at Life U is the development of innovative programs like the culinary nutrition program, which merges culinary arts with nutrition and food technology. She emphasizes the importance of academic freedom in shaping these initiatives, citing Life U’s supportive environment as instrumental in fostering creativity and growth.

Looking ahead, Life U’s Nutrition Department is poised for expansion, with plans to introduce additional tracks to its undergraduate degrees and transition its master’s program to focus on integrative health. Dr. Pickett-Bernard envisions a future where students are equipped not only with theoretical knowledge but also with practical skills to address the root causes of illness through functional and integrated nutrition.

For prospective students considering Life U, Dr. Pickett-Bernard highlights the institution’s unique blend of small class sizes, exceptional programs and affordability. More importantly, she underscores the university’s commitment to fostering meaningful relationships with students, nurturing a sense of community that extends far beyond graduation.

In essence, Dr. Denise Pickett-Bernard epitomizes the spirit of innovation and holistic health that defines Life Us Nutrition Department. Through her unwavering dedication to culinary nutrition and integrative health, she continues to inspire the next generation of nutritionists to embark on a journey of discovery and transformation.

For more information about Life U’s Nutritional Program opportunities, visit our Master’s in Clinical Nutrition, Bachelor’s in Culinary Nutrition and Bachelor’s in Dietetics and Bachelor’s in Nutrition web pages.