Words by Peta Campion, FoodGroup dietetic intern
Now nearing completion of my Masters of Dietetics, it’s time to make some serious decisions about where I want to end up in the dietetic world. If you had asked me six months ago I would have thought my options were - hospital or a clinic, and not much else… oh how wrong I was...
Becoming the new FoodGroup intern has opened my eyes to a whole other world, where dietitians can both utilise and develop their skills, and more importantly – make a big difference.
I have always been interested in primary healthcare, which focuses on preventative medicine. I like the idea of being the ambulance at the top of the cliff rather than patching people up at the bottom. The World Health Organisation sums this up nicely, with five key elements to help reach the goal of ‘health for all’:
- Reducing exclusion and social disparities in health
- Organising health services around people's needs and expectations
- Integrating health into all sectors
- Pursuing collaborative models of policy dialogue
- Increasing stakeholder participation
And you betcha… my introduction to the dietetic PR world has touched on all of these aspects. Our work is all about tying in the health and nutrition needs of society with what consumers actually want, what food and health companies are able to offer, and what policies are in place around food and nutrition. At the end of the day we are aiming for everybody to have a positive, healthy and evidence-based outlook on what we eat to fuel our bodies.
From my experience (albeit somewhat limited), there has historically been some divide between food industry and other areas of dietetics. But why should the two be mutually exclusive when we have so much in common?
When I reflect on my time here I have expanded my capabilities into a range of new areas, from media monitoring and engaging with stakeholders, to reviewing food labelling and conducting social media campaigns. However along the way I have also strengthened a number dietetic competencies including nutrition communication techniques, research, nutrition composition and the list goes on.
So what I have surmised is this. In order to build a strong and sustainable dietetic profession, and use our expertise to best meet the needs of the population, dietetics needs to be ingrained in a range of practice areas. So, clinical, community, public health, private practice, primary health dietetics – Welcome to PR, you’ll find a little bit of everything.