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The term "DISRUPTER carries a negative connotation to many. A disrupter is many things. In the business sense, it can be an organization or company that shifts away from the "status quo" of operation to offer more efficient and personable solutions for a unique niche audience. In the health sense, it can be a natural or man-made chemical that may block the effect or production of certain hormones. This sounds extreme but in both of these examples, I see a common thread: I see MYSELF.

I've never been okay with the status quo of any operation. Since birth, I was told that I was "different," and I truly believed it. My Christian faith plays a major role along with how my parents raised me. And even though it was mainly good, early on I had to learn a few things. I grew up with an innate sense of criticism that would get me in trouble. It came off as extremely "judge-y" and non-relatable to my peers. It came off as "Greg thinks he IS better" or "Greg thinks he KNOWS better." Through many life experiences, I'm grateful for growth.

I have learned to always be solutions-oriented. It's not that I truly think I am or know better than other people or things. It's simply that I just have a lot to say, and I believe it's all worth saying. I want to contribute a ton to the world & have a problem with the "this is just how it's done" mentality. I have a keen eye for quality improvement. One way or the other, I always find myself in unique niches to do what I was born to do: TO CREATE; TO INNOVATE; But most importantly: TO DISRUPT.

I'll just use my experience as a dietitian as an example. I came into this nutrition field and was warned of the demographic disparities between men and women. I was told that I would feel uncomfortable. But I was ALWAYS told that I was needed. Shout out to my internship director Lamura Poore, MS, RDN, LD for always reminding me of what I already knew. She is a disrupter herself and instilled within me many great qualities to propel my dietetics career. As it currently stands, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that roughly:

92% of all registered dietitians are WOMEN.

To be honest, I think that's wonderful. There are a lot of reasons for this including history, needs, etc. What bothers me however is that:

MEN are leading in 9 of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States.

This includes, but is not limited to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and more. Most of these are chronic diseases that have specific nutrition recommendations for maintenance and/or prevention.

How is it that roughly 8% of Dietitians are men when MEN are leading in 90% of the top causes of death that nutrition can help manage or prevent, but NO Dietitian has decided to specialize in men's health?

While many healthcare services, general attention, grants, opportunities, etc. are centered around women's and women's health, why is there such a grave lack of attention and focus on men's health & men's related concerns? THIS IS DISTURBING. By the way, this is where the solutions-oriented DISRUPTER Greg comes into effect. On countless occasions in my professional career, I have encountered men who breathe a sigh of relief because I AM their Dietitian. My more direct approach, shared "manly" experiences, and certification as a men's health educator helps. REPRESENTATION MATTERS. This allows me to help men make health and nutrition changes to support their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. We can joke around about our wives and kids. We have a commonality in the pressures of manhood in today's society. We wrestle between the expectations & desires to build a solid foundation for our loved ones, and how our health and food choices get tossed to the wayside as a result. As men, we don't have the opportunity to have financial backing from our spouses and/or family members like many women do. WE CONSTANTLY have to get it out of the dirt and our health & wellness journey gets muddy because of it.


HOW I'm Disrupting

If I can help just ONE man improve his strategies around nutrition to support his health, then I know that there is one man in society who is stronger than ever. That's why I'm here to disrupt. There are a lot of great things happening around me, but it's just not enough. This is how I plan on contributing: DISRUPTING the notion that men's healthcare doesn't exist.

DISRUPTING the notion that men's healthcare is suboptimal. DISRUPTING the BS (Bro Science) that currently exists. DISRUPTING current ideas and thoughts about men's health. DISRUPTING the idea that access to healthcare is not possible. DISRUPTING with education and lifestyle intervention (like nutrition). DISRUPTING with quality programs, 1-on-1 sessions & optimal services.

In every successful community, there must be responsible men who lead, hold themselves accountable, and prioritize their health & well-being. As a dietitian, I truly believe in the power of a man to make well-informed food decisions that support all components of his health (mind, body, and spirit). Many men go through our healthcare system, & I prioritize addressing their concerns through medical nutrition therapy and lifestyle coaching. Though my services aren't for men exclusively, I am especially passionate about how I can sharpen my brother.

The term DISRUPTER carries a negative connotation to many, but it's music in my ears. Whoever is reading this: When something is disturbing, it may be time to DISRUPT.

- Gregory Lafortune, MS, RDN, LD



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