Meet Our Dietitians
Nikki Ver Steeg, RD, LN, Certified Wellness Coach
As a Registered Dietitian for Avera Heart Hospital, I have the opportunity to wear a lot of hats. I'm a certified wellness coach, cardiovascular nutrition expert, cookbook author, motivational speaker, project manager, media representative, cooking class instructor, and nutrition spokesperson. I do it all — and I love every minute of it.
In my work with Avera, I have helped hundreds of people lose weight, lower their blood cholesterol, and improve their health and wellbeing through personalized nutrition consultation. I've also written several cookbooks and created the Five-Finger Menu Planning Guide, an innovative tool that helps adults and children plan nutritious and wholesome meals.
Heart health is serious business – but that doesn't mean it can't be fun. I am passionate about what I do and love to share it with others.
Mary Beth Russell
I have 18 years of experience developing others into the healthy person they want to be. I absolutely love my job. I am passionate about my own personal mission for health and wellness and feel it is the key to a long and happy life. I also feel very strongly about the benefits of exercise. I spend a great deal of our free time at the gym working out. In my opinion, a well balanced diet needs to be partnered with a well balanced workout that includes both cardio and weight bearing exercise for overall health. As a registered dietitian I feel it is my mission to meet people where they are at in their wellness journey. I enjoy partnering with them to develop their own personal health goals and then my aim is fulfilled as I guide them on their path to success.
Katelyn Engel RD, LN
My passion for nutrition started as a high school athlete, where I learned how what you eat can drastically effect how you perform. I became fascinated with the idea that better nutrition could influence your health status, and that doctors and nurses were not the only ones who could help make people well. As a young, ambitious adolescent I had dreams of working in foreign countries and fighting malnutrition and child hunger. As I matured, I began to understand that there are plenty of nutrition “battles” to fight here in the U.S., although some days I do still get the urge to travel.
I completed my undergraduate education at the College of St. Benedict, in St. Joseph, MN, where I graduated with academic honors, receiving Bachelor’s degrees in Nutrition and Hispanic studies. I completed my dietetic internship at the University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine. During the internship I completed rotations throughout South Dakota, including the Avera Heart Hospital and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I learned from some of the best RDs in South Dakota, and further developed my love for working with nutrition and healthcare.
I am passionate about healthy eating, wellness, and exercise. I am an avid runner, cyclist and cross-country skier, and you can find me outside nearly every day doing one of these activities. I also enjoy cooking and love to experiment in the kitchen with new spices and food combinations. As a Registered Dietitian at the Avera Heart Hospital, I’m able to educate, encourage, and support people through their nutrition and health journeys. I want to help each patient understand, as I learned in high school, that what you eat plays a dramatic role in your health and well-being. I think Hippocrates said it best, “Let food by thy medicine, and thy medicine be food.”