Meet the Team: An Interview with Nutrition Expert Janice Baker

Taking Control of Your Diabetes features a team of experts giving you the inside scoop on diabetes. Today, meet nutrition expert and host of our nutrition segment “Fit to Eat,” Janice Baker.

UCSD-TV: What sparked your passion for nutrition and nutrition education?
Janice Baker: As a teen in the 70’s, the significant rise in popularity of nutrition,wellness […]

Taking Control of Your Diabetes features a team of experts giving you the inside scoop on diabetes. Today, meet nutrition expert and host of our nutrition segment “Fit to Eat,” Janice Baker.


UCSD-TV: What sparked your passion for nutrition and nutrition education?

Janice Baker: As a teen in the 70’s, the significant rise in popularity of nutrition,wellness and health food stores caught my interest. My friends and I loved eating at our favorite health food restaurant, indulging in avocado/alfalfa
sprout sandwiches and date shakes. And that was followed by carob candy bars for dessert (teenage metabolism and cheerleading kept the weight under
control!).

Additionally, I grew up watching my dad constantly struggle with
weight. He tried many different diets and diet programs, with very limited success. I loved to read through his Weight Watchers cookbooks and try some of the recipes – not always successful. As a high school student I worked at Arby’s making and serving fast food. Three years of this gave me plenty of “behind the scenes” experience about what people are actually eating. Having my skin and hair coated with a layer of grease after each shift is a feeling I won’t ever forget – at least that can be showered off! In choosing my major in college, which I was required to do upon starting Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, nutrition science was a natural choice. It was very challenging, but never boring! My passion for nutrition science and education has continued ever since!

UCSD-TV: How did you get involved with TCOYD?

Janice Baker: As a member of San Diego Association of Diabetes Educators for the past several years, the request for volunteers for the “Ask an Educator” program at the TCOYD conference came up. I attended the conference for the first time about 6 years ago. I was thrilled and so excited to be a part of it and have been ever since!

UCSD-TV: Diabetes care is closely aligned with a healthy diet. When someone who is newly diagnosed with diabetes comes to see you, what is the first thing you tell them?

Janice Baker: Actually, as a diabetes educator, I don’t tell them anything when I first meet someone newly diagnosed with diabetes; I ASK them about what they would like to learn, about what their daily life is like, what may be the biggest challenges with improving the healthfulness of their diet and lifestyle. In many cases, those with diabetes only need to change a few things to make a big difference and it makes no sense to overwhelm them with information that confuses them even more. This is much more effective and people want to be heard and to ask questions. They are often very fearful about what they think I will tell them. My job is to make this a pleasant and informative experience so they leave thinking, “I can do that!”

UCSD-TV: What has been your most rewarding moment working with diabetic patients?

Janice Baker:
There are too many to mention. Being in practice for 27 years, I have had many many rewarding moments. But generally, giving people hope and confidence in their ability to make better choices to improve the quality and quantity of their lives while also incorporating fun into it, makes every day rewarding.

My father passed away at age 65 of diabetes complications. He was diagnosed in the 70’s with type 2 diabetes and had very limited diabetes education. I saw first hand the toll this took on his mind and body – the eye, kidney, heart disease, amputations of his toes, inability to walk, and his depression over not being able to be an independent person. Every day that I work with people to educate them about diabetes and how to take care of themselves the best they can is the best way I can honor the memory of my dad. I think he would be very proud and this is a big part of my passion. My father was also a patient at the San Diego VA hospital. He loved that place. From speaking to Dr. Edelman, coincidentally, he was likely one of my dad’s physicians.

UCSD-TV: Busy schedules and hectic lifestyles often make it a challenge for people to make the best choices when dealing with their diet. What advice do you have for managing a busy schedule while maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Janice Baker:
Being too busy to take good care of yourself will shortchange you on time and money sooner rather than later. It does not take a lot of time to eat healthfully and it is not expensive either. Eating out at restaurants and fast food places frequently is expensive and skipping meals often leads to overeating on unhealthy foods later on, leading to weight gain. Taking more and more medication because of this means more and more cost and time for doctor visits. Planning simple, regular meals and having healthful food on hand that is quick to prepare saves a lot of time, money and health care costs. I always advise bringing one’s own lunch every day, drinking water instead of juice or soda, having fruit in season or small boxes of raisins or nuts on hand for snacks, and moving in any way possible each day. These things do not cost much and save lots of money over the long run.

UCSD-TV: What do you hope viewers will gain by watching the TCOYD series?

Janice Baker:
Viewers will gain insight into the realities of diabetes management – that they do not have to be perfect to improve their health, that very real people can accomplish lifestyle change goals without disrupting their lives. I want viewers to think and say “I can do that!”

TCOYD: Diabetes Prevention Premieres June 24th

Don’t miss the premiere of Taking Control of Your Diabetes: Diabetes Prevention, the first in the totally revamped TCOYD series, on Thursday, June 24th at 8:00pm. Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes and the numbers are increasing at alarming rates. What can we do, if anything, to prevent diabetes in the first place? Join host Dr. […]

Don’t miss the premiere of Taking Control of Your Diabetes: Diabetes Prevention, the first in the totally revamped TCOYD series, on Thursday, June 24th at 8:00pm. Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes and the numbers are increasing at alarming rates. What can we do, if anything, to prevent diabetes in the first place? Join host Dr. Steven Edelman as he talks to leading experts Dr. Matthias von Herrath and Dr. Robert Henry to learn the latest about the prevention of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Matthias von Herrath, MD
Dr. von Herrath serves as Director of the Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research, in addition to being a full Member in the Division of Developmental Immunology. Dr. von Herrath’s research focuses on strategies to prevent type 1 diabetes through the induction of regulatory T cells.

Dr. von Herrath wrote his thesis in the field of Biochemistry and then received his M.D. in Medicine from the Freiburg Medical School in Freiburg, Germany in 1988. He did his residency work at the Freiburg Medical Center in the Internal Medicine/Immunology department and at the Diakonic Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit in Freiburg. For his postdoctoral work, Dr. von Herrath went to The Scripps Research Institute and worked in its Neuropharmacology and Immunology departments.

Dr. von Herrath is an editor and reviewer for numerous publications as well as being a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and a Council Member for the International Diabetes Society. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. He is the recipient of the 2006 Grotzky Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International and the 2007-2012 Scholar Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Dr. von Herrath and his team study why the immune system sometimes attacks the body’s own cells. They focus on type 1 diabetes, a disease caused by the immune system attacking the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, and on diseases caused by viral infections. Their goal is to develop and evaluate new treatments and therapies for these conditions, in particular immune-based interventions.

Robert R. Henry, MD

Dr. Robert R. Henry is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of California, San Diego. Recent honors include the American Diabetes Association Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award and the Robert H. Williams-Rachmiel Levine Award from the Western Metabolism Club. His primary research interests involve studies in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Studies are directed almost exclusively at the role of skeletal muscle in these disorders and are designed to elucidate what aspects of muscle metabolism are primary and which are secondary in etiology. These investigations involve studies of intact humans, combining glucose clamps with indirect calorimetry, leg blood flow and substrate balance, and needle biopsies of vastus lateralis muscle. Complementary in vitro studies are performed on human muscle cultures from such patients and involve studies of insulin signal transduction, gene regulation, enzymatic activation, and mitogenesis.

Behind the Scenes Photos

Go behind the camera and get a closer look at the people who bring Taking Control of Your Diabetes to a TV near you.

Sandra Bourdette (left), Co-Founder & Executive Director of TCOYD, and Dr. Steven Edelman go over the day’s schedule.

Producer Jennifer Ford (right) and Dr. Robert Henry on the set for Diabetes Prevention, the […]

Go behind the camera and get a closer look at the people who bring Taking Control of Your Diabetes to a TV near you.


Sandra Bourdette (left), Co-Founder & Executive Director of TCOYD, and Dr. Steven Edelman go over the day’s schedule.


Producer Jennifer Ford (right) and Dr. Robert Henry on the set for Diabetes Prevention, the first program in the newly revamped TCOYD series.


Nutrition expert Janice Baker and camera operator Harry Caruso shoot the first installment of “Fit to Eat,” a recurring segment in the TCOYD series.


Director Peter Kreklow (left) and producer Jennifer Ford on location at the Wellness Studio in UCSD’s RIMAC Gym.


Camera operator Harry Caruso captures the action as Michelle Day demonstrates exercise techniques for “Get Your Move On,” a recurring segment in the TCOYD series hosted by fitness expert Larry S. Verity.

Join the interested millions…..

How many viewers would you say have downloaded the Perspectives on Ocean Science series from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps? 50,000? 100,000? Ok, let’s go way out, how about 500,000? Keep going…. Over 2,500,000. That stunned even me…. Over 2 and a half million downloads. That isn’t clicks. That’s viewers saving the programs so they […]

How many viewers would you say have downloaded the Perspectives on Ocean Science series from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps? 50,000? 100,000? Ok, let’s go way out, how about 500,000? Keep going….

Over 2,500,000. That stunned even me….

Over 2 and a half million downloads. That isn’t clicks. That’s viewers saving the programs so they can be watched online or on the go with a mobile media device. Now, of course, that isn’t a blip compared to that Superbowl wardrobe failure, or even that owl cam….but it is the most reputable, relevant and current information available on a wide variety of ocean science topics, straight from the source — unadulterated, unabridged, un-spun.

So you can join in and see what’s so interesting to so many of your fellow viewers, we’ve prepared a summer long line-up of the most frequently downloaded programs. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday night from June through August you can find a Perspectives on Ocean Science program airing on UCSD-TV. And don’t forget, you can always view the programs on-line, or download them and take them with you….and join the interested millions who already have.

A Dose of Vitamin D

Before you load up the car and head out to soak up some summer sun, tune in for the newest installments in our series Vitamin D Deficiency: Treatment and Diagnosis. Notable vitamin D researchers will address the latest information on what we really know about vitamin D and how it impacts our lives. New this […]

Before you load up the car and head out to soak up some summer sun, tune in for the newest installments in our series Vitamin D Deficiency: Treatment and Diagnosis. Notable vitamin D researchers will address the latest information on what we really know about vitamin D and how it impacts our lives.

New this year:

Vitamin D: Role in Preventing Cancer
Vitamin D – Nutrient, Not A Drug
Vitamin D: UV, The Original Source – How to Use It
Vitamin D: Pregnancy and Lactation – Preventing Complications, Growing Healthy Babies
Vitamin D: Diabetes and Colon Cancer in the Japanese Population
Vitamin D: Interactions of Vitamin D and Calcium

And be sure to check out our archive for more information on this hotly debated topic.