Our Members

The following profiles are of dietitians who are members of Dietitians New Zealand.

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Sylvia North | Nutrition Consultant | 3-4 days/week

Can you tell us a little more about your current dietitian position?

I currently work in two clinics on Auckland’s North Shore. The Fearless Nutrition in Milford which is my own business and Caryn Zinn Nutrition Wholefood Dietitians and Nutritionists where I work closely mentored by Caryn Zinn (NZRD, PhD). I also have a role with Coeliac New Zealand on the medial advisory board and nutrition consultant.

I’ve been in private consulting since 2016 and average between 3-4 days per week.

You can find me at fearlesnutrition.co.nz and on Facebook

What does your current role involve?

I see clients for one-on-one nutrition advice with a special focus on wellbeing through whole food nutrition. The main areas I focus on are digestive health (IBS, IBD, coeliac), food intolerances, weight loss, diabetes and cardiovascular risk reduction, as well as autoimmune and thyroid issues.

Are you working on any special projects you would like to share?

I’m currently sourcing funding to start a PhD this year. Nothing is set in stone yet but watch this space. My website and blog is an ongoing project of mine also. I’m continually working on writing new content to share in the blogosphere.

What makes your role unique?

There’s certainly diversity, which I don’t think is particularly unique for a dietitian in private consulting. I also think every dietitian offers their own unique personality since when one meets with a dietitian it’s not only the advice that we’re after but also the connection and trusting relationship that’s formed.

What is your background?

I completed all my studies from undergraduate to masters at Massey University. My Bachelors was in Nutrition and Physiology and Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics.

I became a dietitian because I’ve been a zealot for health and nutrition since my teens. Being told what we should eat was never really enough for me, rather my career mission has always been about understanding why we eat the way we do and how we can optimise for health and wellbeing.

I have always had an interest in private consulting and thus only had one role in the DHB working as a community dietitian at Waitakere Hospital. I got into consulting following meeting my lovely mentor, Dr Caryn Zinn. I then picked up my own practice which was handed over to me from Dietitian Jill Thomson at the point of her retirement.

What do you enjoy most about being a dietitian?

The most satisfying part of my role is seeing results through a process of meaningful lifestyle changes.

I also enjoy not having all the answers. That’s what makes being a dietitian a process of forever learning and growing.

What do you find most challenging about your work?

The process of forever learning is also challenging. While it is stimulating, it also requires long hours at times.

What is the best piece of dietetic advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t make assumptions. From a dietitian’s perspective, it might be obvious what a client needs. However, you can’t  know what could be going on in their life and what’s most important to them.

What is your top tip for living a healthy lifestyle?

Meditate. All healthy choices start with a healthy mind.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?

In ten years’ time, I see myself continuing in private consulting with further developed knowledge and experience. I also have the ambition to enter into the academic research and teaching environment.

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Dr Rajshri Roy | Lecturer in Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics at The University of Auckland | February 2018

Can you tell us a little more about your current dietitian position?

I spend 35 hours a week teaching and coordinating the University of Auckland’s Dietetics programme. I also conduct and supervise research in the area of nutrition. The other 5 hours of the week are spent supervising students in the student lead nutrition and dietetic clinic. As a lecturer, I spend 35 hours a week teaching and course coordinating in the Masters of Health Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics programme, conducting and supervising research in the area of nutrition and dietetics. The other 5 hours of the week are spent supervising dietetic students in student lead University of Auckland nutrition and dietetic clinic.

What does your current role involve?

Lecturing students and specialising in research, public health nutrition and clinical dietetics, I am currently conducting research in the area of tertiary education food environments and their effect on dietary behaviours as well as studying changes between initial and follow-up appointments in student lead dietetic consultations.

Are you working on any special projects you would like to share?

One of my research projects is looking at the effect of food environments on young adults. I am looking at the potential benefit of nutrition labelling at food outlets, reducing the price of healthy meal options and increasing the availability and variety of healthy food choices on campus (including in vending machines!).

I am also looking at what dietitian qualities are important to our patients. The information that  I collect will help in guiding teaching and learning strategies for our future dietitians.

What makes your role unique?

I have the privilege of teaching and supervising the future dietitians. I learn just as much from my students as they do from me. There is nothing more gratifying than supporting their development. I love helping them look at real-world problems of practice through a variety of lenses. It’s incredible to watch them learn to be critical thinkers and apply their knowledge to make a positive impact.

What is your background?

I studied at The University of Sydney in Australia where I completed Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012. I then worked as graduate research dietitian at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Allergy Unit where I conducted research in to food allergy and intolerance. I looked at the way in which food chemicals and nutrients interacted within the body. At the same time, I was completing my PhD research on lifestyle and nutrition interventions in young adults. I found that cost, accessibility and availability of healthy foods are needed to improve the diets of young adults.

In 2016, I completed my PhD and moved to Auckland, New Zealand, became a NZRD, and started working as a lecturer in dietetics at the University of Auckland. My PhD identified points of leverage for change and guided more food environment interventions that I am currently researching.

What do you enjoy most about being a dietitian?

I became a dietitian because it combined three of my interests — food, science and people. I learn so much every day from my fellow dietitians, my clients and my students. I am a proud dietitian, inspiring healthier lives through good food.

What do you find most challenging about your work?

Nutrition is cool and it impacts everyone, but that unfortunately means that anyone can claim to be an expert.  I often want to hide from dinner party conversations that erupt in to inaccurate claims around sugars, carbs, veganism and paleo diets. Getting asked whether or not people should go gluten-free while I’m sipping a cocktail would be my least favourite part of being a dietitian.

What is the best piece of dietetic advice you’ve ever been given?

Always remember when dealing with clients that ‘’Food is more than nutrition; it is social, emotional, and should be fun. One major goal as a dietitian is stopping your client from over thinking everything they put in their mouth and have a much healthier relationship with food.”

What is your top tip for living a healthy lifestyle?

Eat what our body intuitively tells us to eat. Remember that we don’t have to eat a perfect diet to be healthy. We will not suddenly get a nutrient deficiency or gain weight from one snack, one meal, or one day of eating. It’s what we eat consistently over time that matters, progress not perfection is what counts.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?

After 10 years in research I expect that I would have had to learn from my setbacks, accept and grow from criticism and continue to persevere. I will still be enjoying the journey as much as the destination. A career in nutrition and dietetic academic research is rewarding and never boring! I also hope to have found a nice balance between my professional life and paying attention to my interests outside of science which include travel, music and drama. I feel like my creative hobbies of exploring new places, playing keyboards, singing and acting on stage will continue to provide an outlet for my rich, poetic imagination so I spread the message of nutrition in a colourful way

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Louise Fangupo | Clinical Dietitian at Oamaru Hospital (16 hours per week) | November 2017

What does your current role involve?
Mostly running an outpatient clinic, although I also see patients in the single Oamaru Hospital ward as required, and I liaise with the foodservice regularly too.

What makes your role unique?
I am the only dietitian at Oamaru Hospital, so I need broad nutrition knowledge in order to be able to help people at different life stages. In one day in clinic, I can see a wide range of people all with different nutritional needs – everything from a toddler with food allergies, to a frail older person who needs to gain weight.

What is your background?
I grew up in Oamaru and studied at Otago, finishing my PG Dip Diet in mid-2008. I then spent two years working as a Clinical Dietitian at Hawkes Bay Hospital, which I loved. I came back to Oamaru in 2010 and spent some time working in sport and recreation before my current job became available. As it is only part-time, I juggle it with various other things – I have an interest in research, so I completed my MSc in the Baby-Led Introduction to SolidS (BLISS) study last year, and am now doing some data collection for the Kids BMI Study. I also have two young children of my own (aged four and one) who keep me on my toes. 

What do you enjoy most about being a dietitian?
The contact with people – patients and colleagues. It’s always a real buzz when you know you have helped someone improve their life through food. I also love that there is always something to learn about – you will never know it all when it comes to food and nutrition!

What do you find most challenging about your work?
Being in a rural location without other dietitians close by to bounce ideas off – if I have a particularly challenging patient or someone presents with a condition which I don’t know anything about, I have to quickly do some research or call/email a colleague in another part of the country. In saying that, I usually end up really enjoying those interactions as everyone is so helpful!

What is the best piece of dietetic advice you’ve ever been given?
If you’re unsure, go back to basics – start by seeing if a person is eating regular meals and having at least some items from each food group, and go from there.

What is your top tip for living a healthy lifestyle?
There’s no one ‘right’ way to be healthy – experiment and find out which foods and activities make YOU feel best, both physically and mentally, and build on that.

What do you hope to be doing in ten years’ time?
Still something dietitian or nutrition-related, although I’m unsure exactly what. I did really enjoy doing my MSc so who knows, I may tackle a PhD at some point…..

 

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