Alumna Blends Love for Nutrition with Health Care in Fruitful Career

Leslie Berryhill begins new role as a clinical nutrition manager

Leslie Berryhill

OXFORD, Miss. – Leslie Berryhill, an alumna of the University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences, continues to advance in her career in clinical dietetics as she begins a new role as a clinical nutrition manager with Ochsner Health System.

Previously, Berryhill was the lead registered dietician for a level four Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans. A level four NICU is the highest-level facility, treating tiny patients who need the most complex care.

“As the lead RD in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I performed clinical assessments of the patients, designed nutrition protocols and quality improvement initiatives with the medical team, developed enteral and parenteral regimens, and oversaw the management of infection prevention in the handling, storage, and delivery of nutritional products,” Berryhill said. “The NICU had 54 beds and could easily be filled to capacity on any given day.”

In January, Berryhill started her new role at the Ochsner Health System main campus. She leads and manages associated personnel, programs and services and monitors the performance of other registered dietitian nutritionists in the health care system for safety, efficacy and evidence-based practice.

Berryhill received a bachelor’s degree in dietetics and nutrition in 2008 and a master’s degree in food and nutrition services in 2011, both from Ole Miss. However, she first came to UM planning to go to medical school before changing her career path to dietetics and nutrition.

“The summer after my freshman year, I worked out a few days a week with a friend who had recently completed her undergraduate degree, as well as an internship in nutrition and dietetics, and was starting her first job at the Mississippi State Hospital,” she said. “I began researching the different roles a registered dietitian could have and realized my love for food could be integrated with health care.”

Berryhill attributes much of her success in her career to her education and the UM faculty members who continued to encourage her, particularly Kathy Knight, professor of nutrition and hospitality management.

“Leslie was incredibly hard-working and persistent, always willing to do whatever was needed to get a project or job done,” Knight said. “I don’t think Leslie ever thought that she would be a lead NICU dietitian when she was a student, but she ventured outside her comfort zone and was not afraid to do the hard work that was necessary to be successful in whatever job she was in.

“Leslie’s success should encourage students to not be afraid to get outside of their comfort zone.”

For more information about the dietetics and nutrition program, visit or call 662-915-1505.