Some of the biggest questions I had when I was a student were- how do I know if a certain career path is right for me? AND how do I know what opportunities are available to dietitians?
If this sounds like you, make sure to read on... One of my biggest goals with this page is to help future dietitians gain exposure to some of the unique and amazing opportunities available to them. So, to start off with our awesome RD Spotlight, I'd love to introduce you to Kady Hunter!
Where do you currently work? I work for Interior Health in Nelson, BC. Interior Health is the regional health authority that delivers programs and services through the southern interior of BC. I work as part of the Population Health portfolio on the Healthy Communities team as Community Health Facilitator. My role is essentially to build relationships with local governments and community organizations to support the integration of health into local policies. I work with 17 different municipalities in the Kootenays on planning processes such as poverty reduction, active transportation and housing. What was your path to get there? I went to Western and completed the Nutrition and Dietetics program through Brescia. In my third year, when I learned about the social determinants of health and the world of community nutrition, I was hooked! I was very happy to be able to continue on to the Master of Public Health –Community Nutrition program at the University of Toronto to learn more about population health and complete my internship in community settings… which ultimately led me to Interior Health! I was able to complete the final placement of my internship with the Public Health Dietitian team in the Okanagan and then lucked out covering a series of maternity leaves for different team members across the region. During that time I was able to work with communities on a variety of food security polices and projects. In July 2018, I applied for my current permanent role with the Healthy Communities team and still work very closely with the Public Health Dietitians. What do you love about the work you do? I love that my job is more than just food and allows me to explore other determinants of health. They are all so inter-related – food, income, housing - and all play a huge role in influencing our health. I also really enjoy that I get to work with people outside of the health sector and have learned to frame community health in ways that are meaningful to them such as using community health and well-being as a common goal for other community interest like economic development and climate action. I have to be strategic and look for policy windows… and I love that! What's the hardest thing about your job? As a dietitian working in a non-dietetic role, I had to find ways to continue to keep up with my competencies and stay connected to the profession. I was able to join the Board of Directors for the College of Dietitians of BC and have learned a lot about governance, regulations and am able to stay up to date with the work dietitians are doing across sectors. What's one piece of advice for students who want to pursue a similar career? Be flexible & confident! The skills you have developed through your dietetic education are valuable and can be applied in a variety of different ways. Skills like systems and process thinking, communication and knowledge translation are all assets that many dietitians have and employers are looking for.
Are you a student who wants more career and personal development content just like this? Make sure to join The Dietitian Project private student Facebook group! #dieteticintern #career #dietitian #rd #path #publichealth #populationhealth