Elizabeth Higgins grew up surrounded by great food. Born in Goderich, Ontario to an agricultural family, she was cooking and appreciating all foods at an early age...
Time management is one of the most important go-to skills that Andrea Starr utilizes in her daily life, whether it is finding time to train for marathons and triathlons or balancing her dietetic job duties...
Tammy Fansabedian has always been passionate about food and nutrition. She is intrigued by the complexity surrounding food and nutrition albeit it being a basic human need...
Leah Curle is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated from the University of Guelph and completed the Southeastern Ontario Dietetic Internship program in Kingston Ontario...
Alessandra Magisano is a compassionate and empathetic registered dietitian who has always had a passion for patient care, counselling, and working with individuals impacted by eating disorders...
Kelsey Kennedy draws upon her vast public health and community nutrition experience in her current role as wellness facilitator at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, where she facilitates group programs that focus on nutrition and lifestyle management...
Lilisha Burris is a registered dietitian and co-founder of Dietitians Explore! an organization that arranges international professional development trips for future Canadian dietetic professionals...
Full alumni profiles
Christina Demirkok’s passion for food and nutrition began at a young age with memories of being in the kitchen and around the dining table with family. Culture is an important part of Christina’s family food traditions, as are healthy eating and homemade meals. This background, combined with her interest in science, led her to pursue a career as a registered dietitian. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University, where she gained an interest in research, clinical nutrition, communication, patient education, and critical thinking. This led her to pursue a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson. During her dietetic practicum rotations, Christina applied her philosophy of practice, which focuses on patient-centered care, considering the social determinants of health, and approaching nutrition with a holistic lens. She learned valuable skills from the MHSc program that she applies in her job, including knowledge translation, keeping up to date with evidence-based research, public speaking, and key messaging techniques. Her main interests include outpatient and inpatient dietetics in a variety of areas where nutrition can impact and improve health, including diabetes education and acute care.
Since graduating, Christina has pursued these interests as a registered dietitian at William Osler Health System and the Caroline Family Health Team Diabetes Education Program. She works collaboratively with other healthcare professionals as part of interdisciplinary teams, providing patient education, advocating for the role of nutrition, and pursuing self-directed learning to support patients’ health. One of her favourite aspects about working as a registered dietitian is goal-setting with her patients and seeing their progress during follow up appointments. Christina is interested and passionate about the impact nutrition can have in diabetes management and a professional goal is to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). In the future, Christina is open and excited for new opportunities in dietetics in a variety of areas, inpatient and outpatient, that emphasize her core values around providing patient-centered care, communicating, advocating for the role of dietetics and nutrition on health, and working in a team environment. Christina believes in the importance of work-life balance, and when she’s not working, you may find her travelling, with Peru and South Africa being her latest adventures.
Written by Savannah Buccella, MHSc(c)
Julia Hayden grew up reading food labels, which sparked an early interest in learning what the information on these packages meant for her health. A passion for dietetics and technology has led Julia to her role as a registered dietitian and product owner of Foodmaestro – an award-winning digital platform that transforms existing consumer packaged goods data into attributes that can be connected to the individualized dietary needs of consumers. These attributes enable a number of personalised services for retailers and manufacturers, while also powering mobile apps for consumers’ medical needs, including food allergies, IBS, and Coeliac disease.
Julia received her BASc from Ryerson University in Nutrition & Food in 2016 and completed Ryerson’s Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication program in 2017. During her studies, she worked for Nutrition Discovery Labs and the Canadian Sugar Institute as a research assistant where she found a love for evidence-based practice. She also began her ongoing advocacy work with Diabetes Canada. Moving forward, Julia is helping to drive dietetic innovation with Foodmaestro’s products and services. She strongly believes in creating digital tools to ensure the dietetic profession keeps up with the rapidly growing world of health tech. In her spare time, Julia enjoys sweating out the week’s stress at spin class, experimenting with new recipes in her Instant Pot, and reading as many professional development books as she can get her hands on. Julia believes that there is a clear connection between the foods we eat and our overall health, but what’s less clear is how to find foods that meet our personalized needs. She is excited to see how dietitians can use new technologies to help people easily find the right foods for them.
Written by Emma Hunt, MHSc(c)
Unlike many in the profession, Phoebe Lee did not always know that she wanted to be a dietitian. Originally, Phoebe moved to Ontario from Calgary, Alberta to pursue her dream of being an artist. She completed an undergraduate degree in art and later attended cooking school. Though she enjoyed working in restaurants and teaching cooking classes, Phoebe knew she wanted to help people more directly. She discovered dietetics and was drawn to its combination of working with food and helping others.
After completing her undergraduate degree and obtaining her Master of Health Science at Ryerson University, Phoebe began her first job at Black Creek Community Health Centre where she was contracted as a Harm Reduction dietitian. She was given the freedom to create her own position and promote dietetics in this new role through leading presentations and providing education to clients in treatment centres. Phoebe has since been hired as a full-time community dietitian with Black Creek. Aligned with her own values, she uses a holistic approach to health and works with a strong interdisciplinary team in a respectful environment. She enjoys being able to help people through many different real-life challenges.
Through her current role, she discovered her interest in pediatrics and picky eating, specifically working with children living on the autism spectrum. Phoebe’s also interested in food security, social justice, harm reduction and mental health, as well as the healthy at every size movement. In the future, she would love to work with different populations and collaborate with other organizations and professionals. She hopes to continue her work as a community dietitian and incorporate her artistic skills whenever possible. She plans to stay open minded about the future and take on new opportunities that come her way.
Written by: Rebecca Minshall, RD, MHSc(c)
From the very beginning Eileen Quigg did not see herself in a traditional dietetic role. Driven by her passion for food and all that it can do, Eileen wants to show people that dietitians do more than just tell people how to eat. Her aim is to help people reconnect with food and guide them towards a mindful way of eating, while also addressing issues surrounding food security and food literacy.
Eileen received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph before completing her Master of Health Science (MHSc) in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. During her time as an MHSc student, Eileen gained insight into how she could effectively communicate with others and apply the principles of motivational interviewing. As a dietetic student, she found particular enjoyment in working at a community health centre, where she worked with members of the community to teach at-risk children, youth, and adults about food literacy and cooking.
Following graduation, Eileen worked as a summer Community Food Leader with SummerLunch+ in Toronto. This position incorporated everything Eileen wanted from a job – cooking, working with children, and providing information about food literacy and where food comes from.
Eileen is currently working as a Client & Services Representative at Real Food for Real Kids in Toronto. Although the role is not as nutrition-focused as some of her past experiences, Eileen continues to seek out opportunities to showcase her skills and advocate for the importance of the dietetic field. She is also in the process of taking on several independent projects to demonstrate the transferability of her skills and knowledge-base.
Although Eileen has ideas on what she would like to do in the long-term, she continues to keep an open mind and recognizes that with every new experience, her goals and vision for the future may change.
Written by Mikaela Horton MHSc(c) BASc
Stephanie Cullen-Conroy is a Registered Dietitian whose passion for food security and community nutrition shows through her career path. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Western University and obtained a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University. She started her career as the Food Safety Coordinator and Product Developer at the Terra Cotta Cookie Co. She developed the food safety policies and procedures and obtained the gluten-free, halal, and kosher certifications for the facility. Stephanie also developed recipes for delicious baked goods that sold at stores throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
Stephanie believes that food is a universal agent that brings people and communities together to share, grow, and change lives. Her goal is to empower and support families and communities to healthfully connect to their food and cultivate purposeful relationships with themselves and others. For that reason, she pursued the Food Security certificate program at Ryerson University and worked at Evergreen Brick Works, where she helped children connect with nature through food and gardening activities.
Stephanie currently works as a Community Dietitian at Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre. She uses community-based health approaches to plan, deliver, and evaluate programs such as community kitchens and cooking demonstrations. Stephanie’s high-level understanding of the complexities of social determinants of health enables her to tailor nutrition care plans and educational workshops for diverse populations. She helps her clients overcome socio-economic barriers and cope with cultural issues in diet and nutrition and gain access to healthy food. Her compassion and natural ability to connect with people allows her to excel at her job and become the trusted expert for nutrition and food within the community.
Stephanie hopes to continue working with the community around food security and sustainable food systems. She is open to non-traditional dietitian jobs and hopes to make a positive impact in the health of communities.
By: Tara Abu-Klam, RD, MHSc. (2018)
Elizabeth Higgins grew up surrounded by great food. Born in Goderich, Ontario to an agricultural family, she was cooking and appreciating all foods at an early age. While studying dance performance arts, she learned that many of her classmates didn’t know how to cook. She taught them how to shop and cook for themselves, threw dinner parties, and discovered her love for working with food. She started taking nutrition elective courses, then decided to study nutrition exclusively at the University of Guelph after completing a dance degree.
After graduating, she knew she wanted to pursue a masters degree in the field. The MHSc program proved to be a good fit as she was looking to explore careers outside of the traditional clinical role. As well, she was interested in learning more about knowledge translation, communication, and community work. She loved how individualized and flexible the program was; as it allowed her to cater her experience to her interests while exploring new areas. Her practicum experiences taught her about networking and being adaptable and open to new environments and opportunities. She knew she would to create her own career and felt that the MHSc program set her up to do just that.
Elizabeth is currently working as the sole dietitian at Huron County Health Unit. Having grown up in the area , she is familiar with the population she now works with. As a public health dietitian, she is involved in food skills training, program planning, food literacy education in schools, nutrition education for public health nurses and staff, and yearly costing of the nutritious food basket. The role allows her to manage projects, work collaboratively, continuously learn, practice knowledge translation, and keep up to date with research. She gets to be creative, innovative, and use her knowledge of behaviour change theories. Her ability to critically analyze, interpret, and utilize research are vital to her success.
Elizabeth is excited to continue transitioning and growing as a dietitian. She hopes to further her knowledge of mindful and intuitive eating and incorporate this into her work. She is passionate about working with communities, developing and sharing nutrition programming to help meet their nutrition related goals.
By Olivia Cupido, MHSc (2018)
Time management is one of the most important go-to skills that Andrea Starr utilizes in her daily life, whether it is finding time to train for marathons and triathlons or balancing her dietetic job duties. Andrea currently works as a consulting and clinical Registered Dietitian, providing nutrition counselling to clients in their homes, and supporting patients recovering from neurological and orthopedic conditions at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare.
Andrea’s varied work experiences in teaching, research, and clinical practice have given her a wide range of transferable skills, which helps her move seamlessly from one area of interest to another. Her aptitude for communication, interpersonal relationships and critical thinking are important aspects of all her jobs. Taking risks and being open to opportunities have directed her dietetic journey so far, accepting that there is nothing wrong with not knowing where you’ll will end up when first starting out. The abilities to learn from past mistakes and successes and believe in yourself have shaped Andrea’s life and career path.
Andrea’s interest in what people eat, as well as why people eat, led her to extensive work in the fields of eating disorders and mental health. Andrea hopes to continue working to increase people's awareness and help to demystify the often misunderstood and complex world of disordered eating.
Her considerable dietetic experience is a reflection of Andrea’s curious nature. She holds Master of Health Science and Master of Science degrees from Ryerson and Guelph universities, respectively. Andrea’s graduate thesis investigated the perceptions towards obese adults and children among senior-level female nutrition and non-nutrition students, which informed her placements at Sheena’s Place and the University Health Network. With plans to further her education and knowledge by adding PhD credentials in the future, Andrea hopes to contribute to nutrition research and gets excited about the possibility of becoming a professor. Grateful for the opportunities and support that she has received over the course of her career, Andrea enjoys giving back and would like to continue supporting students as a preceptor and mentor.
When not in her garden or feeding birds, Andrea spends her time running, cycling and swimming. She acknowledges that these activities are a time for reflection and serve as an important opportunity to recharge and refocus.
By Phoebe Lee (MHSc, 2018)
Nicole Norris is an inspirational dietitian who strives to use food as a gateway for making meaningful community impact. Growing up on the Federal Airport Lands of north Pickering, Nicole learned about the importance of protecting our local food systems and advocating for social justice. She has been actively involved in the local food movement for seven years now, and has become motivated to change food systems and advocate for individuals with little access to food.
Through her work, Nicole has firsthand experience into the ways that community food services make meaningful impacts in individuals’ lives. As the Community Service Coordinator at The Stop Community Food Centre, Nicole is involved with the front-line work where she organizes the food bank, co-ordinates staff and volunteers, develops and manages the delivery of nutrition workshops, and works one-on-one with community members to ensure that all individuals feel welcome and supported. Nicole is trained in crisis management and intervention techniques and she utilizes these unique skills to de-escalate situations while maintaining client dignity and respect.
Nicole built on her communication skills while completing her Masters of Health Science degree in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University in 2016. Through this program, she was able to gain practical experience in food service and security during placements at Access Alliance and Toronto Public Health Food Strategy. After graduating from Ryerson, Nicole became the Food Service Coordinator at 360°Kids where she created a food services program from the ground-up and worked one-on-one with youth to build their food skills and knowledge in a supportive environment. Along with her expertise in community and public health, Nicole also has experience within the restaurant industry and in long-term care where she was a dietitian assistant.
She is committed to further education, as she will be completing a Community Support Fundamentals Certificate through George Brown College this summer and plans on pursuing George Browns Non-Profit Management Certificate in the near future.
Growing up in a family where food and nutrition held strong importance, Stephanie Ruggieri knew dietetics was a perfect career choice for her. She was always interested in the connections between food, family, and culture. She chose Ryerson’s Nutrition and Food undergraduate program because it offered her a change from the small town in Alberta she grew up in. There, she was surrounded by diverse cultures and experiences, which enhanced her education. She loved how Ryerson emphasized both the science and art of nutrition.
Stephanie decided to pursue a career as a food industry dietitian. With her sights set on Nestle, she researched what she would need to achieve her goal career. After speaking with dietitians who held roles similar to those she hoped to have for herself, it became clear that she would need a masters degree to work in the field. It was these role model dietitians who told her about the MHSc program, which offered the exact tools needed to think about food and nutrition in new and innovative ways. The program perfectly positioned her to adapt to changes of both the healthcare system and the food industry.
During her graduate studies, she took a chance on a volunteer opportunity with Nestle. This experience helped get her first position as a Territory Manager with the company. Currently, she works in head office as a Marketing Associate. In this fast paced setting, she is involved in supporting marketing initiatives, including targeted communications and activities to promote product innovation and renovation.
Despite having little prior marketing experience, the communication skills she developed in the MHSc program are vital to her success. Stephanie believes that as leaders in nutrition, dietitians should continuously broaden their scope and be ready to change with the ever-changing field. As an industry dietitian, she is doing just that. Her position allows her to take on non-traditional roles as a dietitian and learn every day. She is excited to see where this career will take her and to continuously challenge herself.
Jennine Seaman found herself inundated with nutrition information after researching nutrition in effort to adjust her own diet. Confused and frustrated with having to separate fact from fiction among all the available information on food and nutrition, Jennine knew others must have been feeling the same. She was motivated to study nutrition herself so she could one day be able to help others feel confident in making their own nutrition related decisions. After completing her undergraduate degree, she knew the MHSc program was a perfect fit for her.
During her public health placement at Toronto Public Health, Jennine instantly felt at home and decided to pursue a career in public health. She credits the rotational nature of the MHSc program for giving her the opportunity to explore different areas of dietetics and find her niche so early in her career.
Jennine is now a registered dietitian for Hastings Prince Edward Public Health. Her role involves both planning and implementation of a variety of programs for children. She is currently facilitating infant feeding classes supporting sustainable nutrition education in schools, and collaborating with other public health professionals. She also sits on the Baby Friendly Initiative committee and the Food for Learning committee. Her ability to multitask and prioritize, skills she fostered in the MHSc program, allow her to thrive despite the many responsibilities of her role.
Her favorite part of her job is running cooking classes for both children and families where she promotes healthy choices, leads grocery store tours, and introduces children to the kitchen. She also loves that her position allows her to address the social determinants of health and their impact of food choices.
By Olivia Cupido, RD, MHSc (2018)
Tammy Fansabedian has always been passionate about food and nutrition. She is intrigued by the complexity surrounding food and nutrition albeit it being a basic human need. She is currently practicing as a clinical dietitian at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, where she specializes in head and neck cancer. Her role in the health care team is crucial as many patients in this area have difficulty eating. She has been a positive influence in her practice environment, as she is a strong advocate for her clients. Over the years, she has been successful in creating change that results in improved patient care. Tammy is also involved in supporting the dietetic profession by educating students from other health care backgrounds about a dietitian’s role and value through various presentations. She also engages in patient education by the means of patient newsletters, articles and other handouts.
Tammy is passionate about giving back to the dietetic community, as she teaches in the Internationally Educated Dietitians Pre-registration Program (IDPP). She utilizes her clinical expertise to educate international dietitians, helping them towards their goal to practice in Ontario. She has a great understanding of the relationship between culture and food, allowing her to be open to the differences seen in dietetics around the world. Tammy also teaches a general nutrition and health course at the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences. On the side, she also works for INC research, where she creates menus for pharmaceutical trials.
With Tammy’s interest in gaining more research experience and skills, she has recently finished a MHSc in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. She aims to become more involved with research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, using her critical skills to apply knowledge translation into dietetics. She is also considering pursuit of a PhD sometime in the near future.
Written by Gigi Loong, MHSc 2016 (c)
Cristina Cicco is a registered dietitian with over ten years of experience working in non-traditional roles. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food as well as a Master of Heath Science degree in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University. Cristina completed a dietetic internship at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she was given the opportunity to intern at Campbell’s. The contrast of this practice setting provided Cristina with the perspective she needed to determine her current career path. Instead of working in traditional hospital settings, Cristina enjoys applying her nutrition knowledge to creative communication projects.
For many years, Cristina worked as a Marketing and Communications Dietitian in the Specialty Food Shop at the Hospital for Sick Children. This experience allowed her to develop transferable skills in nutrition communication, project management, event planning, and training. It was here that she discovered her love of teaching. Cristina has since pursued a number of teaching certifications and instructed nutrition at both the college and university level. Cristina also worked at Nutrition Wise Communications, where she utilized her creativity to develop nutrition communication products and conduct literature reviews for a number of health organizations.
Cristina is currently the Web Content Manager at EatRight Ontario, where she has previously held various roles involving communications. In her present role, she manages and coordinates the development of the content on the EatRight Ontario website. Through this role, she has continued to enhance her project management and leadership skills. Cristina is also a Project Coordinator for the College of Dietitians of Ontario, coordinating the development of new assessment tools for internationally educated dietitians. Cristina believes that by networking with sincerity and taking an intuitive approach to career planning, exciting opportunities await her.
Written By: Andrea Scalzo, MHSc 2016 (c)
Carol Clarke is a registered dietitian and nutrition knowledge broker who has worked in many settings over her twenty year career. With a degree in administrative studies from Western University, Carol worked in business for ten years before embarking on her dietetics career. An interest in nutrition and fitness along with the multitude of career opportunities led her to this field. She went back to school at age 32, earning a Bachelor of Applied Science in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University with a minor in Health Promotion, followed by a dietetic internship at Toronto Western Hospital.
As a dietitian, Carol has worked in a variety of practice areas from hospitals to primary care, including a clinical position in Dublin, Ireland. She has contributed to publications as an author and co-author and is co-chair of the Dietitians of Canada Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Network.
A desire to engage more in community work and combine her business and nutrition backgrounds led Carol to partner with a clinic in 2008 to open a private practice providing nutrition counseling to individuals and groups. Her commitment to life-long learning led her to fulfill a long-term goal by earning a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication and a Gold Medal from Ryerson in 2013.
In Carol’s current role as a nutrition knowledge broker, she translates evidence-based knowledge into practical messages for lifestyle behaviour change by educating health professionals and engaging with the community. She enjoys the challenges of this work and the ability to give back to society. Carol aims to expand this venture by teaching, offering workshops and nutrition talks at a community centre, developing corporate wellness programs, and writing for a local newspaper.
Carol enjoys cooking, fitness, interior design, and travel. She is learning to speak Spanish.
Written by Jennine Seaman, MHSc 2016 (c)
Leah Curle is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated from the University of Guelph and completed the Southeastern Ontario Dietetic Internship program in Kingston Ontario. She worked as a clinical dietitian in a community hospital Diabetes Education Program before deciding to pursue further education. She discovered the MHSc program at Ryerson and knew it would be an opportunity to explore new areas in dietetics through the practicum option and advance her skills in communication and knowledge translation.
Following the completion of a practicum in public health, Leah continued working as a public health dietitian and enjoyed projects such as creating food skills resources, working on the community nutrition worker program and contributing to an advisory group for workplace nutrition.
Leah’s next career move was taking a unique opportunity to work for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care as a Long-Term Care Homes Inspector. This position allows her to continue working at the population level. In this role, Leah works to ensure long-term care homes are operating in compliance with provincial legislation and regulations by conducting inspections in long-term care homes. In her day-to-day activities, Leah observes the care and services provided to residents, conducts interviews with residents, staff and other stakeholders, reviews policies and records and writes inspection reports. Leah believes the skills she gained in the MHSc program allow her to be successful in her daily tasks, specifically being able to advance her proficiencies in completing systematic reviews and critical appraisals, as well as building on skills in knowledge translation and communication. The role keeps her challenged and engaged every day. She loves how her work contributes promote the health, safety, comfort and rights of residents in long-term care.
Leah’s aspirations as a dietitian include taking opportunities that allow her to support high quality health systems, educate others, and contribute to the development and growth of healthcare programs and services.
Fleur Esteron proves that becoming a dietitian is not the only career path after studying nutrition. Her passion for food security and social justice has led to her position as Research Assistant and Coordinator for the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University, becoming interested in food security during her first year of studies through interactions with an academic mentor. She worked for Apotex Pharmaceuticals after her undergraduate degree, while maintaining her interest in food security through volunteering and obtaining a certificate in Food Security.
Later, Fleur returned to Ryerson to obtain a Master of Health Science degree in Nutrition Communication. She took this opportunity to support her career transition and focused her major research project (MRP) on food security and social justice.
Since graduating, Fleur has focused on pursuing opportunities about which she is truly passionate. These opportunities help her grow while positively influencing other people. Fleur is determined to help those who experience societal and economic barriers. Through her upbringing, she is motivated to learn about, and seek to help bridge, the daily challenges people face. Inspired by her mentors, one of Fleur’s career aspirations is to give back to the community by educating others. She continues to contribute to non-profit organizations through research and communication, and in the future, may pursue a PhD. She thrives as a learner and has a strong desire for new knowledge and experiences.
Outside of her career, Fleur participates in yoga and meditation to practice discipline and mindfulness. She believes that we must constantly evolve throughout our lifetime. Over the years, she has learned to recognize what challenges her, and always seeks opportunities to improve. She urges others to have respect for both their personal and professional selves.
Written by Alysha Coughler, MHSc 2016 (c)
Alessandra Magisano is a compassionate and empathetic registered dietitian who has always had a passion for patient care, counselling, and working with individuals impacted by eating disorders. After graduating from Ryerson University’s Nutrition and Food program, she continued her education by completing Ryerson’s Master of Health Science degree (MHSc) in Nutrition Communication. As a graduate student, she completed a placement at the Canadian Sugar Institute (CSI), where she created nutrition communication tools and messages to encourage an evidenced-based perspective of sugar and carbohydrates. She continued to work in the CSI communication department developing tools and conducting research after graduation of the MHSc program in 2013. A year later, she attended the University Health Network’s internship program, where a rotation in eating disorders confirmed her strong interest and desire to be a clinical dietitian working with this population.
Upon completion of internship, Alessandra was recruited as a Research Assistant by a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto to help with her research about carbohydrates and sugar consumption. In 2016, she applied for her current role: a clinical dietitian at the Kyla Fox Centre. She is now the lead dietitian supporting patients who are living with eating disorders through one-on-one counselling and nutrition programs. She works with an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurse practitioners, therapists, nutritionists, and naturopaths to provide evidence-based and complementary care for her clients. She loves that she is able to follow her clients throughout their journeys, as well as work with an incredible staff. Her philosophy of practice focuses on helping clients achieve a healthy relationship with food and using an inter-professional approach to care. She uses motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, and intuitive eating principles to help her clients achieve their goals.
Alessandra wants to further develop her role as a leader at the Kyla Fox Centre. She is learning how to best train staff on the nutrition services provided. In the longer term, she would like to go back to school to complete a PhD. Her advice to current dietetic students is to persevere and follow your heart and passion.
Written by: Yasmin Dadollahi
Radha Pooran, MHSc, RD, CDE was born in the British West Indies and moved to Canada when she was fifteen years old. In 2006, Radha completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food with a minor in marketing, at Ryerson University in Toronto. She obtained a dietetic internship in South Eastern Ontario. After internship, Radha worked as a community dietitian at Kingston Community Health Centres for three years. Radha then moved to Toronto where she worked mainly in the area of diabetes before returning to Ryerson University in 2012 to obtain a Master of Health Science degree in Nutrition Communication. During this time Radha taught an online nutrition course at Seneca College, which she continues to teach today.
After completing her MHSc in 2013, Radha continued to work in diabetes as a nutrition communication consultant with the West Toronto Diabetes Education Program. Presently, she works as a stakeholder engagement specialist at EatRight Ontario (ERO). In this role, Radha collaborates with other groups and stakeholders to help position ERO as a credible nutrition resource across Ontario. Radha is also a certified diabetes educator and has completed master level training in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program offered by the Stanford School of Medicine. Radha is a proud member of three professional organizations: Dietitians of Canada, the College of Dietitians of Ontario and the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Her future career aspirations include working in a leadership role while helping to develop innovative health care programs and services. In her free time, Radha enjoys practicing martial arts – which she has been doing for over ten years!
Written by Melissa Baker, RD, MHSc 2016 (c)
Stephanie Gladman, MHSc, RD, CYT is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Yoga Teacher with a strong passion for health and wellness. Her career path has not been linear, but by listening to her intuition, reading signs from the universe, and staying true to her passions, she’s found her ideal balance by embracing three different positions.
At Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Stephanie works in the Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship Program where she promotes eating well for cancer survivors through individual consults and group classes. Stephanie works closely with a Wellness Chef at the ELLICSR Kitchen to develop delicious and healthy recipes that meet strict nutritional guidelines grounded in scientific evidence. While presenting to large audiences during food demonstrations, her expert communication skills are vital in developing key messages for participants. Along with a team of patient educators and technology experts, Stephanie is transforming one of her nutrition classes into an online module so that patients can access content remotely.
As an In-House Dietitian for Nutrigenomix, Stephanie educates healthcare providers and clients about genetic testing for personalized nutrition through a variety of virtual platforms. Her third position is one that is especially important to her; her role as a yoga teacher. During a time of career exploration, she found yoga. This practice benefited so many areas of her life and aligned with her personal philosophies that she trained as a teacher. Yoga has taught Stephanie about mindfulness, especially as it relates to eating, which she now incorporates into her dietetic practice.
After graduating from a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University, she took a chance on a position at General Mills Canada, despite having no previous experience in the food industry. On the job, she creatively translated complex nutrition evidence into easy to understand messages to promote food brands while collaborating with product developers, sales and marketing teams, lawyers and healthcare professionals.
Stephanie brings her broad range of nutrition skills, health expertise and dietetic experiences to her current positions. She loves that her work allows her to make connections with diverse professionals and meet new people regularly. With an appetite for knowledge, Stephanie is dedicated to expanding her know-how through mentorships and workshops and is constantly taking on new opportunities. She encourages students to follow their true passions, even if they lie outside the traditional areas of dietetics. Stephanie also believes in molding job descriptions to fit you, instead of molding yourself to fit those descriptions. She hopes to continue combining her love for yoga and nutrition by offering workshops focused on dynamic yoga postures, wholesome food habits, and mindful eating techniques.
By Olivia Cupido, MHSc (2018)
Kelsey Kennedy draws upon her vast public health and community nutrition experience in her current role as wellness facilitator at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, where she facilitates group programs that focus on nutrition and lifestyle management. She also provides resources for the community and connects people with partnering agencies to help clients achieve their health related goals.
The road to Kelsey’s career began with a Bachelor of Science degree and integrated internship from the University of Prince Edward Island. Soon after, she took a job with PEI Healthy Eating Alliance as a registered dietitian, collaborating with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to implement healthy eating policies in elementary schools. Kelsey honed her communication skills as an instructor at Acadia university, where she taught courses in food and management for nutrition and dietetics undergraduate students.
Kelsey decided to go back to school to complete her Masters in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University, focusing on research that investigated best practices in dietary therapy for obesity. This experience gave her the opportunity to travel and present her systematic literature review at the Canadian Obesity Network Conference.
Kelsey has an entrepreneurial spirit and owns a nutrition consulting firm which provides services for businesses in the private and nonprofit sectors.
Kelsey is interested in the health and wellness of her community and wants to help her clients achieve their best. An avid animal lover, Kelsey fosters rescued dogs awaiting adoption and in her spare time she chases after her busy toddler and enjoys the beach with her family. Kelsey believes in progress, not perfection.
Natalia Kot is a passionate registered dietitian, nutrition communication professional, and food enthusiast. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food in 2011 and a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication in 2012 at Ryerson University. Completing her MHSc provided an excellent learning experience where she felt both challenged and supported. She completed a dietetic internship with ARAMARK. Her placements included Vaughan Community Health Centre, Trillium Health Partners, Wexford Long Term Care, as well as food service management and industry rotations with ARAMARK.
Natalia’s passion for nutrition communication was evident during her time at Ryerson and ARAMARK internship. She utilized each class and rotation as an opportunity to further enhance her nutrition communication skills.
An exciting opportunity during her internship included a placement in Fort McMurray, Alberta, where she collected data from oil sands workers regarding the gap between camp life and home life. This rotation led to Natalia having the opportunity to present at the Dietitians of Canada’s National Conference. The session titled “Finding the Fit” explored non-traditional placements, with Natalia sharing her experience and knowledge. Utilizing her communication skills Natalia has also appeared in a television segment on Rogers Daytime, presenting on “Healthy Eating in the New Year” in January 2014.
In August 2013, Natalia accepted a position as an In-Store Dietitian at Loblaw. Here she utilized her skills in a variety of ways including one-on-one counseling, food demonstrations, marketing, grocery store tours, and group classes. Natalia currently holds the position of Director of Health, Wellness & Communications for K-12 Education at ARAMARK. She coordinates the health and wellness programs for approximately 200 schools across Ontario. Since starting in November 2014, Natalia has found this position to be extremely challenging and rewarding.
With a passion for health, wellness and providing creative nutrition education, Natalia plans to continue to build her business “Food Talks Nutrition Consulting” in addition to her current role at ARAMARK.
Written by Erica Reynolds, RD, MHSc 2016 (c)
Stefania Palmeri is a registered dietitian whose educational journey begins and ends at Ryerson University. After graduating from Ryerson Nutrition and Food undergraduate program, she completed her dietetic internship at North York General Hospital to gain clinical experience. She knew she wanted to continue studying at a higher level and found Ryerson’s MHSc program to be a perfect fit. The program offered tangible skills in an educational environment that was much different from her clinical internship. It provided an opportunity to further develop her natural communication skills and complete a major research project on nutrition messages in children’s literature.
Stefania has worked with outpatient populations ranging from pediatrics to seniors and currently works as a registered dietitian for the Medcan Clinic in downtown Toronto. In this position, she counsels clients with disordered eating and digestive issues. She completes nutritional screenings with clients as a part of a complete physical, she counsels pediatric populations and collaborates as part of an multidisciplinary team. She also has her own private practice, Palmeri Nutrition Consulting, which allows her to develop business skills and her own counseling style. Her personable nature and expert communication skills allow Stefania to build relationships with clients and help them make positive changes. She is continuously learning and improving her practice through the many educational opportunities available to dietitians. So far, she’s furthered her knowledge of autism, eating disorder care, and the low FODMAP diet for IBS management.
As an assertive and resilient dietitian, Stefania is well positioned to help elevate the registered dietitian brand. She strongly believes that registered dietitians should be as accessible to the public as other healthcare providers and she advocates for recognition of the role of dietitians on health care teams.
Inspired by high school nutrition courses, Sarah Storer completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph. To build on her communication skills, Sarah completed a Master of Health Science, with a focus on Nutrition Communication, at Ryerson University.
Since graduating, Sarah has held several positions through which she’s continued to develop her skills in knowledge translation, plain writing, project coordination, and program development and delivery. At Carpenter Hospice, she created workshops and nutrition presentations for the Wellness and Bereavement Group and developed food safety policies and training for volunteer staff. During her time at General Mills Canada Corporation, Sarah developed communications to train their sales, marketing and digital teams on the new GS1 system. Sarah also volunteered with Partners In Food Solutions to help develop fortified flour for Ethiopia. As a Patient Education Specialist at SeamlessMD, she created communications that helped patients understand complex medical information and protocols through an innovative, online and evidence-based platform.
Currently, Sarah works as an Education & Knowledge Exchange Specialist on the Cancer Education team at Princess Margaret Hospital, where she combines her love of collaboration as a member of a multidisciplinary team of allied health professionals and her desire to create new patient education material that best serves her clients’ needs. In this role, she develops and evaluates education and communication products to support students’ learning as well as the continuing education of clinicians and other healthcare professionals. Sarah also creates self-management supports to help patients and their families. Sarah’s work at Princess Margaret allows her to influence cancer care on both the local and global scale. In the near future, Sarah hopes to continue creating digital platforms in patient education that reach a large patient population.
Sarah continues to expand her knowledge and is currently enrolled in the Certificate Program in Food Security at Ryerson University to learn more about fair and sustainable food systems. While Sarah continues her career focused on helping patients, she also owns her own cupcake business – Sweet Art by Sarah. Sarah enjoys being active and is an avid marathon runner and basketball player.
Written by: Kristie Pun
Kelly Atyeo-Fick is a Professional Home Economist and Nutrition Communication and Marketing expert. She earned a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, worked in promotions, marketing, and then embarked on a journey to successfully complete a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University.
Kelly is a thought-leader, visionary and entrepreneur in the health and wellness industry. Her goal has always been to integrate the principles of marketing with nutrition and health communications to affect consumer behaviours positively. Her business activities empower families and individuals to achieve a desirable quality of life. Kelly is co-founder and President of Creative Sampling Solutions Inc. O/A LiveWell Marketing, a creative agency that focuses on brands/products that have unique messages as they relate to health and wellness. She manages a team of Wellness Ambassadors, which includes registered dietitians, professional home economists and nutrition/wellness enthusiasts.
In addition, Kelly also operates her own consulting company – Balance Your Cart – through which she draws on her skills in nutrition knowledge translation, creative writing and public speaking. She is a certified food safety instructor and an online health writer/nutrition communicator for Chicken Farmers of Canada. Kelly believes in collaborating with professional organizations that share a similar mandate to the Ontario Home Economics Association. She is committed to lifelong learning and professional development activities. Her goal is to increase the opportunities for nutrition professionals to share health and wellness messages to consumers in a variety of settings. She also offers placement opportunities to nutrition and marketing students in the food industry.
Written by Shailja Shah, MHSc 2016 (c)
Amanda Good is a Registered Dietitian who started her dietetic journey at Brescia’s Bachelor of Science Food and Nutrition program. She then pursued the Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication with Major Research Project (MRP) at Ryerson University. During her experience in the Nutrition Communication program, Amanda became interested in exploring career opportunities for nutrition professionals within the food industry. After her graduation, Amanda completed her dietetic internship at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where she had the opportunity to complete a placement in the food industry at Nestlé Canada with their corporate Nutrition, Health and Wellness team.
Following her internship, Amanda joined Nestlé Canada’s Nutritional, Health and Wellness team where she held the role of a Nutrition Specialist for over four years. In that position, Amanda worked alongside a variety of departments such as marketing, regulatory, and product development to support Nestlé Canada’s commitment to achieving their nutrition, health, and wellness goals and initiatives.
Presently, Amanda is a Territory Manager with the Nestlé Health Science business. As a Territory Manager, she connects with healthcare and administrative professionals in acute care and long-term care centres to support them with medical nutrition therapy solutions that meet their needs and the needs of their patients.
Amanda enjoys that her chosen career path as a Registered Dietitian has a balance between business and nutrition. Specifically, as a Territory Manager, she feels fortunate to play a role in supporting the patient’s journey and helping to improve patient outcomes with evidence-based nutrition solutions. Amanda is passionate about and connected to business and industry and she plans to continue practicing dietetics in this field.
Elizabeth Gullaher is a registered dietitian who currently works at her private practice, Journey to Health Nutrition Consulting and at Sobeys. She holds a Bachelor of Science (with honours), double major in Food Management, and Nutrition and Dietetics from The University of Western Ontario. She completed a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University and a dietetic internship at North York General Hospital.
Throughout her education, Elizabeth had aspirations to become a consulting dietitian in private practice. After Elizabeth completed her internship, she created her start-up venture, a private practice called Journey to Health Nutrition Consulting, where she currently manages everything from nutrition counseling to online communication.
Elizabeth is a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario, Canadian Diabetes Association, and various networks within Dietitians of Canada, such as the Addiction, Mental Health and Eating Disorder, and Consulting Dietitians networks.
She brings extensive experience with individual counseling to her unique private practice where she specializes in eating disorders and disordered eating, mental health, weight management, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Elizabeth has a multitude of experiences as a dietitian from North York General Hospital involved in the Adult Eating Disorder Program, Adolescent Eating Disorder Program, Mental Health Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and delivered diabetes education at the Garden City Family Health Team. She currently provides group based nutrition education sessions for the community at Sobeys.
Elizabeth’s aspiration is to continually help others overcome barriers and encourage change. She feels it is essential to stay up to date with current nutrition research and subscribes to Practice- based Evidence in Nutrition. Elizabeth strives to show her patients she genuinely cares about them by motivating and promoting change. The positive changes she sees in her patients inspire her to continue as a dietitian.
Written by Cindy Lui, MHSc 2016 (c)
Jennifer Magdics is a Registered Dietitian at Gordon Food Service Canada. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. After spending time working in rehabilitation services, Jennifer enrolled in the Nutrition and Food program at Ryerson University to pursue a career in dietetics. Post graduation, Jennifer obtained a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University.
Jennifer’s diverse role at Gordon Food Service Canada allows her to pursue her passion for making a difference in the healthcare field and food industry. She is a Nutrition Resource Centre dietitian, providing evidence-based nutrition and food service resources for Gordon Food Service customers. Jennifer works closely with healthcare accounts, including long-term care homes. Some of her daily activities include assisting customers in developing therapeutic cycle menus, helping customers implement cost-reduction strategies related to their menus as well as product purchases, recipe development, writing articles for Gordon Food Service healthcare and food service magazines, and presenting educational webinars to customers.
Jennifer also works with multiple special projects within the City of Toronto Long-Term Care Homes and Services. She is currently working on a research project that aims to better understand how to improve the quality of food service in long-term care homes from food preparation in the kitchen to food service delivery.
Jennifer has been involved in the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). She has developed and presented educational webinars to both foodservice and healthcare professionals on the initiative, as well as taken on the role of IDDSI champion on her team.
Jennifer’s outstanding communication and organization skills allow her to prioritize her tasks and excel at what she does daily. She is an open-minded dietitian who continues to make a positive impact in the healthcare field and improve nutrition outcomes for Canadians. She looks forward to the future and is interested in pursuing the Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate in the short-term, with long-term interests in completing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to help her advance further in the foodservice industry.
Ashley Murphy MHSc, RD, is a Rhode Island based dietitian with a wide range of experience, including a strong background in health promotion and community nutrition. Ashley has worked as a dietitian in Canada and the United States and has experience in the non-profit sector, clinical dietetics, and as a college nutrition instructor. Currently, Ashley is working on expanding her private practice - Nutrition by Ashley. Ashley offers nutrition coaching related to gastrointestinal issues, such as food intolerance and IBS, and works with clients whose goals include weight loss and sports nutrition. As a workplace health educator, Ashley facilitates corporate health and wellness programs for several companies. Drawing on her nutrition communication expertise, Ashley has been a featured guest on nutrition topics for the CBC, PEI’s local television newscast, and has written articles for the National Canadian Diabetes Association newsletter, the Hospital for Sick Children’s website (About Kids Health), the New Brunswick Moshka Yoga Newsletter, and The Toronto Youth Food Policy Council Journal.
Ashley completed a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition and a dietetic internship at the University of Prince Edward Island followed by a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. Ashley is a member of Dietitians of Canada and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is licensed with the New Brunswick Association of Dietitians and the State of Rhode Island. Ashley is also a certified Craving Change facilitator and is a Food Skills for Families Master Trainer and workshop facilitator.
Ashley is passionate about nutrition and continuing education and is excited to grow her private practice and online business. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, practicing yoga, and running.
Written by Shavonne Nice, MHSC 2016 (c)
Maria Ricupero is a dietitian engaged in diverse areas of practice, including cardiac rehabilitation, diabetes education, mindful eating and public speaking. Her day to day activities involve educating individuals on how to live better through nutrition and facilitating behaviour change in one-on-one, group and conference settings. Maria is a clinical dietitian in the UHN Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, where she counsels patients with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. As a media spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, Maria responds to cardiac nutrition topics in the news via radio and print. She has spoken at national professional conferences including Heart and Stroke Clinical Updates, Dietitians of Canada and Canadian Association of Cardiovascular Prevention & Rehabilitation.
After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree, Maria pursued her interest and passion for food and health by completing a Bachelors of Applied Science in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University, followed by an internship at Mount Sinai Hospital. After working for a few years, Maria returned to school to obtain a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University.
Maria strongly believes in the Health at Every Size movement. She helps clients improve their health and quality of life through facilitating behaviour change and promoting a healthy relationship with food, rather than a focus on weight loss. Maria facilitates a mindful eating group and is a licensed Craving Change facilitator.
Apart from her career, Maria teaches yoga four times per week and utilizes yoga concepts, such as mindfulness, body awareness, and acceptance, in her approach with clients as a dietitian. Maria looks for opportunities to communicate her beliefs on using a non-weight focused approach in all of her endeavors.
Written by Natasha Paulic, MHSc 2016 (c)
Justine Chan completed an undergrad in Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph and a dietetic internship at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Justine started her career as a dietitian at LMC Endocrinology Centres where she met the requirements to become a Certified Diabetes Educator. She practiced at St. Joseph’s Health Centre before pursuing a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. “I wanted a fresh approach on how to engage a variety of audiences in different ways because that in itself is a skill” states Justine. A highlight of Justine’s career was receiving the Dietitians of Canada travel award to present her graduate research entitled “When diabetes and food insecurity intersect: An exploration of the experience of adults in a large urban centre” at the 2012 International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney, Australia.
Justine is a dietitian at Trillium Health Partners Centre for Complex Diabetes Care where a comprehensive team-based approach to short-term treatment and management for individuals with diabetes and related conditions is used. Together with the team, Justine assists with case management, individualized care planning, frequent monitoring and transition/discharge planning for clients. She is also a part-time instructor at Humber College where she teaches nutrition theory courses in the Culinary Management program.
She recently started a private practice - Ever Lasting Health - and she envisions building a practice for sports nutrition and wellness counselling. Justine values maintaining competency in the work that she does and demonstrates this through her ongoing professional development. She is a fitness instructor, enjoys running, writes for the Toronto Group Exercise Instructor Team, and contributes to GoodTimes magazine on a regular basis. Her aspirations include becoming a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and taking her work abroad.
Written by Lindsay Harris, RD, MHSc 2016 (c)
Jacalyn Dryland is a registered dietitian with a passion for empowering people to expand their food skills and eat homemade, ‘real food’. She works with a large interprofessional team at Dufferin Area Family Health Team where she forms genuine relationships with her clients, learns their stories and advocates for them. The diverse client population she meets motivate her to continually evolve and update her professional skills and knowledge base.
Jacalyn realized she wanted to share her love of food and appreciation for basic food skills with others after travelling to various parts of the world. This led her to complete a Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University in Nutrition and Food, a Master of Health Science Degree in Nutrition Communication (also at Ryerson) and a dietetic internship at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. For her MHSc major research project (MRP) Jacalyn developed and coordinated evidence-based cooking workshops. This experience, as well as her involvement with local food producers as a program coordinator for a Toronto-based gourmet food store, fueled Jacalyn’s enthusiasm for engaging ‘real food’ discussions and helping people to develop and expand their food skills.
Currently, in her work with the Dufferin Area Family Health Team, she continues this passion by facilitating monthly cooking classes and creating food education videos called “Cooking with Jacalyn” that demonstrate food skills such as knife handing and use, cooking with herbs and preparing onions. Jacalyn also appreciates the importance of food literacy and devotes her time to community involvement as co-chair for Headwaters Food & Farming Alliance which addresses food-access issues and farming education in the community.
As her career progresses, Jacalyn aspires to continue bridging community and client relationships, teaching food skills, and encouraging people to enjoy the pleasure of eating ‘real food’.
Written by Olivia Wolter, MHSc 2016 (c)
Denice Koo’s passion for her new business is obvious. "It's the best of both worlds," she says. Several years after earning her MHSc in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University, Denice founded Health Education Design, fusing her love of science and research with an enthusiasm for creativity and the arts. Her team helps organizations create tailored, evidenced-based patient education materials in a variety of modalities to best suit her clients’ health literacy needs.
Denice has worked as a Graduate Assistant, Project Manager and Instructor at Ryerson. She also spent several years as the corporate Patient Education Specialist for several of Toronto’s teaching hospitals, merging clinical abilities acquired during her BASc in Nutrition and Food with communication expertise gained during her MHSc studies.
Whether it is consulting with clinicians or collaborating with various artists and professionals, Denice's education and experience makes her uniquely adept at traversing both worlds and bringing the concept of health literacy to her clients, educating them as well as their patients.
Personal experience navigating the health care system with family members has given her a unique perspective and motivation that she brings to her work. In all her decisions, she always keeps the end user in mind. "Am I doing the best I can for the patients?" is her guiding principle.
Colleagues and clients praise Denice's expertise, talent and professionalism. Health Education Design has a bright future, bridging an important knowledge gap, providing clients and patients with quality, evidence-based, easy to understand educational materials that meet everyone’s learning needs.
Written by Barbara Grohman, RD, MHSc 2016 (c)
Colleen Miller is a registered dietitian with her own private practice and a career as a Sobeys dietitian. She had an early passion for food and science. Her mother is a retired nurse and provided early exposure to the idea of health care as a career. Her father is a retired high school teacher, and Colleen found herself drawn to teaching and peer-support.
Colleen completed her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Food and earned a Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University. She attributes much of her confidence as a professional to the master’s program. During her graduate studies, she completed a major research paper titled “The impact of viewing the reality TV show the biggest loser on attitudes towards obese people” which examined how attitudes towards obese people are affected by media. Upon completion of her research, Colleen presented it as a poster at a National Obesity Summit - a major accomplishment for a young professional.
Colleen completed an internship at North York General Hospital, where she was exposed to a variety of practice areas. She stayed on at the hospital where she worked in the Cancer Care Program for several years. It was during this time that she noticed a gap in the services available, where patients who had been discharged from hospital often struggled to access dietitians in the community. This drove her to start her own private practice, where she now sees patients with a wide range of clinical issues. Here she brings clinical expertise to a community setting.
In addition to her private practice, Colleen also launched an exciting career working as part of the Wellness Team at Sobeys, a recent offering in Ontario from this Atlantic based company. In this unique setting, Colleen provides dietetic expertise by holding classes, working on community partnerships, meeting with community groups and providing evidence-based knowledge. A major component of her work at Sobeys is delivering messages about nutrition with real food examples, through a food-focused approach.
Colleen’s professional values are centered on setting realistic goals for people and communicating effectively to ensure her messages are delivered. Outside of her busy career, Colleen enjoys time outdoors, trying new things and spending time with her dogs.
Written by Bryndis Blondal, MHSc 2016 (c)
Hiershenee Bhana is a doctoral candidate with the Department of Health and Behavior Studies in the program of Nutrition at Teachers College at Columbia University. She is currently working on her dissertation (developing and evaluating a curriculum for the upcoming documentary film “In Defense of Food” based on the book by Michael Pollan). Additionally, she designs health programs and curricula rooted in research to create healthy spaces that implicitly and explicitly push people to make healthier decisions.
Hiershenee began her academic career at McMaster University obtaining a BSc. in Psychology. She decided to pursue a career in nutrition and enrolled in the Nutrition and Food program at Ryerson University obtaining her BASc. In 2010, she graduated with a MHSc in Nutrition Communication from Ryerson University.
She has spent the past two and a half years working as a nutrition researcher investigating the individual and environmental aspects related to food choice and engagement in healthy behaviors. She honours her opportunities to work alongside some of the most prolific researchers in the fields of nutrition education, nutrition and sustainability, and behavioral economics, and hopes to bridge the gap between these three paradigms to create effective and healthy environments within schools and organizations. She is currently a member of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and continues to contribute to the academic literature by conducting studies on engagement and effectiveness of health programs and curricula, and the effectiveness of environmental changes that shape food choice.
Hiershenee believes that food is much more than just eating and recognizing the myriad of social, cultural, economic, and hedonic aspects of food and food selection, and thus embraces all aspects of food. She enjoys cooking and growing food, experiencing the foods of other cultures, dining, and traveling. In her spare time, Hiershenee also enjoys staying active by running, biking, and swimming.
Written by Nicole Norris, MHSc 2016 (c)
Susan Zogheib graduated from the MHSc program in 2009. She became interested in dietetics through her love of food and its potential to influence health outcomes. The master’s program at Ryerson provided a tremendous learning curve for Susan as it encouraged her to think outside the box, and step outside of her comfort zone. She was given the tools to deliver nutrition education to a diverse audience through different mediums such as one on one counselling and traditional media outlets.
She is currently employed as a Divisional Lead Renal Dietitian for DaVita, in addition to working as a freelance nutrition writer. Through her position at DaVita, she provides support to more than 50 Dietitians. As a freelance writer, Susan has published articles on topics such as prenatal nutrition and kidney disease. She has appeared on local television discussing topics such as childhood obesity and diabetes.
As a dietitian, she believes it is important to be a good role model to the public by embracing your values and practicing what you preach to provide the public with assurance that you are providing sound nutrition advice. Her greatest achievement has been her ability to establish rapport and build relationships, which has led to over 10 years of valuable experience. She has had experiences in dietetics across the lifespan, much of which she attributes to the power of networking. She has worked in prenatal nutrition, long term care, diabetes, sports nutrition, cancer, and kidney disease.
She believes that passion is largely what drives her success, and that it must be present for an individual to discover their niche. She hopes to write a book within the next few years, and to expand her media work so that she can reach a larger audience.
Written by Michelle North, MHSc 2016 (c)
Lilisha Burris is a registered dietitian and co-founder ofDietitians Explore! an organization that arranges international professional development trips for future Canadian dietetic professionals.
Lilisha knew she wanted to become a dietitian in elementary school. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food at Ryerson University in 2004 and a certificate in Food Security in 2006. During her internship at Mount Sinai Hospital, a love of exploration and desire to experience international dietetics inspired her to pursue a practicum outside of Canada. Through networking she connected with a dietitian in Monterrey, Mexico. The hands-on experience and engagement she experienced during these four weeks continue to drive her career.
Lilisha worked at a community health centre and later EatRight Ontario. During this time she enrolled in the Ryerson Master of Health Science in Nutrition Communication program, earning her degree in 2008. The publication of her master’s research is one of her greatest achievements.
After a chance conversation with Sharon Khoo, a fellow RD, the two realized no organization existed to provide interns with international experience. It was then they decided to start Dietitians Explore! The mission of their organization is to foster adaptability, creativity, and cultural competence to create well-rounded and competent nutrition professionals. Two major successes for Lilisha and Sharon include presenting at the 2012 International Congress of Dietetics in Sydney Australia and successfully arranging a trip to Budapest for four interns in 2014.
Lilisha enjoys reading, film, fashion, and is taking ballet classes. She enjoys cooking and her favourite dish - chicken in white wine and orange sauce - was inspired by a trip to Valencia, Spain.
In addition to Dietitians Explore! Lilisha is working on a project for EatRight Ontario and volunteers in several capacities, including an Out of the Cold program and the DC Practice in Global Context network.
Written by Jennine Seaman, MHSc 2016 (c)
Ashley O’Toole began her education by completing a BHSc at Ottawa University, with a special interest in Nutrition. She has always had an interest in health, wellness and medicine, and specifically in communication and making evidence relevant for people. She pursued a Master of Health Science degree in Nutrition Communication at Ryerson University, where she honed her skills in communication and knowledge translation. These skills are central to her current practice.
After obtaining her MHSc, Ashley worked at the Heart and Stroke Foundation, focusing mainly on communication products. She missed the one-on-one interaction with people and this was the initial impetus for pursuing medicine as a career. After completing medical school at McMaster University, Ashley is currently completing a residency in Dermatology at the Ottawa Hospital. She was intrigued by dermatology because it is one of the specialties where diagnoses and results are readily visible and it combines medical and surgical expertise.
Ashley’s professional values were shaped by her experience in the MHSc program as well as her time at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Patient-centered care is central to her practice. Much of her research as a dermatology resident has focused on health behaviour change and factors related to compliance. She views knowledge translation as important in ensuring effective care and believes it leads to better outcomes and patient satisfaction.
Ashley’s future aspirations include engaging in communication on a broader scale, as a patient advocate in the media. She is committed to lifelong learning; being a member of a dermatology journal club allows her to keep up-to-date with new research. Her satisfaction with her professional work involves knowing that she is influencing lives in a meaningful way.
Ashley enjoys baking and cooking and trying new cuisines. She loves to travel and is interested in photography. A big part of being an effective practitioner is practicing self-care, so Ashley makes it a priority to take time for herself.
Written by Bryndis Blondal, MHSc 2016 (c)