Assistant professor Elisabeth “Lilian” Sattler is making an impact on her students—and the patients they will go on to treat—by focusing on the relationship between nutrition and disease management.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
As a member of a family with a long history in the pharmacy profession, I graduated from the College of Pharmacy at the University of Bonn, Germany, and worked as a licensed German pharmacist for two years before moving to the U.S. to earn my Ph.D. in foods and nutrition from the University of Georgia. I am currently a tenure-track assistant professor with a dual appointment in the department of clinical and administrative pharmacy in the College of Pharmacy and the department of foods and nutrition in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I first came to UGA in 2009 to complete the Ph.D. program in foods and nutrition. I then joined the UGA faculty as an assistant professor in the 2014-2015 academic year. I came and stayed here because of UGA’s excellent reputation, outstanding infrastructure, and unparalleled work environment and the support in both of my colleges that allows me to excel at my research, teaching and service mission.
As a community pharmacist, I had identified nutrition as an important aspect of disease management, so I wanted to supplement my education with training in nutrition and lifestyle intervention in disease management. I am very fortunate to have the support that allowed us to realize the vision to expand the scope of pharmacy practice to include this important area as an integral aspect of the new PharmD curriculum. I can proudly say that UGA’s College of Pharmacy is a pioneer in the field.
What are your favorite courses and why?
I love the idea of bringing nutrition and pharmacy professionals closer together to provide more interdisciplinary patient-centered care. To assist future pharmacists and dietitians to fulfil this task, I teach first year PharmD students the essentials of nutrition and lifestyle intervention (PHRM 3540) and on the flip side I teach undergraduate/graduate nutrition students about pharmacotherapy for disease management (FDNS 4800/6800). Because I am offering my courses using team-based and case-based learning methods, students attain needed soft skills to interact in healthcare teams and with patients. It is very special to observe how the PharmD students evolve from initial skepticism about the topic to excitement when they realize the real-life applications of the course content. Students approach me frequently to share how they successfully counseled patients at internship sites. This is when I know I have succeeded in making an impact for my students and the profession.
What interests you about your field?
I am very interested in better understanding how we can help socioeconomically disadvantaged populations achieve better cardiovascular health, especially from a health care delivery perspective. Having interacted with low-income patients in settings such a local community pharmacy and senior centers across Northeast Georgia, I have seen the need for addressing poor health due to limited resources and other social determinants of health. We should remember that health is a basic human right, not a consumer good.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
I have been very successful in winning seed grants for numerous projects. I am most proud of the UGA/University of Liverpool Seed Grant and Pump-Priming Grant Program, which enabled me to establish an ongoing international collaboration and led to an Honorary Research Fellowship with the department of health services research at the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society at the University of Liverpool. Other highlights were my election to become an Early Career Member of the American Heart Association’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council for 2015-2018 and having the honor of being selected as a UGA Center for Teaching and Learning Lilly Teaching Fellow 2016-2018.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
My research and teaching are inherently linked, because they follow the same vision. Low-income patients with cardiovascular conditions would benefit the greatest from lifestyle changes considerate of their unique situation and environment. Educating health care professionals about health disparities and expanding their knowledge to include nutrition/lifestyle (PharmD students) and pharmacotherapy (nutrition/dietetics students) to provide interdisciplinary care is the first step toward improving health care and disease prevention and management for this population. In the future, I would love to do a research project involving PharmD students who have completed my PHRM 3540 course to test whether a pharmacy student-led lifestyle intervention would translate to improved health and health care outcomes.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
Most of all, I hope to give students the soft and hard skills, and the motivation needed to make an impact as health care professionals in their communities.
Describe your ideal student.
Students stand out to me when they show professionalism and are proactive, reliable and able to think outside the box. My ideal graduate student is self-motivated and well-balanced while showing appreciation for constructive feedback and mentoring.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
… the nicely renovated Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy Suite in the pharmacy building, where my office and student lab are located. Not only do I like the modern feel of the space, but I also feel fortunate to have such a good work environment with lovely, supportive colleagues all around.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Athens is a vibrant community with lots of cultural events! I enjoy dinner or brunch with friends in Normaltown, a movie at Ciné, a show at the Georgia Theatre or sculpting at a local pottery studio. I am also a passionate equestrian and enjoy the sport, like-minded people and fresh air at a farm close by.
Community/civic involvement includes….
I have supported low-income older adults in the region through various outlets, including helping with the “Be a Santa to a Senior” Community Service Program, volunteering at the USDA Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, and giving lectures as part of the Live Healthy Georgia program at Northeast Georgia senior centers.
My favorite book is “The Horse Whisperer,” a novel by Nicholas Evans.
Proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moment at UGA was to be hooded at the Commencement ceremony in Stegeman Coliseum. I cannot wait to hood my first own graduating Ph.D. student!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank my former major professor and now colleague in the department of foods and nutrition, Dr. Jung Sun Lee, and my interim associate department head, colleague and friend in the department of clinical and administrative pharmacy, Dr. Matt Perri, for their continuous support and mentorship.