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Our first Certified Public Health Nutritionist!

Association member Deborah Navarro Rosenblatt has just become the very first cPHN – Certified Public Health Nutritionist. Our certification scheme was launched in 2013. It is a practitioner certification system, with professional recognition as primary goal. This is part of the Association’s commitment to contributing to the development of the public health nutrition workforce worldwide.

Deborah kindly agreed to be interviewed and share her thoughts about the value of a certification system, and her professional expectations from now on.

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Q. Deborah, congratulations on being the first cPHN in the world!
Thank you! It is a real pleasure for me and I do hope to encourage more colleagues to take a step forward on becoming certified Public Health Nutritionists.

Q. Could you tell us a bit about your background? How did you start

your career as a public health nutritionist?


I did my studies in Nutrition and Dietetics at Universidad de Chile. I decided to focus on improving the health of populations across the world. Volunteering for local NGO Un Techo para Chile confronted with the shocking reality that my country lacked public health policies to address the epidemic of chronic diseases wracking the most deprived groups in society. This was the beginning of my career as a public health nutritionist.

After graduating Universidad de Chile as a dietician, I joined the institute of nutrition and food technology at the Instituto de Nutricion y Tecnologia de los Alimentos (INTA). My four years at INTA crystallized my passion: research in public health nutrition. Since then, chronic diseases and elderly nutrition have been the focal point of my research. I was privileged to work with pioneers of nutrition in Latin America, including Professor Ricardo Uauy and Professor Cecilia Albala. Their example has always been an inspiration.

I subsequently decided to enrich my skills, enrolling in an MSc in Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). I pursued my dream of acquiring the expertise to improve population nutrition and quality of life.

Since 2011, I have been working at Imperial College London as Nutritional Epidemiologist, under the supervision of the epidemiologist Teresa Norat, for the Continuous Update Project of the World Cancer Research Found. The project aims to capture, systematically review and summarize the evidence of association between nutrition, body composition and physical activity on the one hand and the risk of cancer on the other. This information provides up-to-date evidence on how people can reduce their cancer risk through diet and physical activity. Since joining this team, I have learned to further appreciate the centrality of evidence-based medicine and its crucial role in formulating nutrition-related policies.

Q. How did you hear about the Association and our professional certification scheme?
I have a friend who attended the WPHNA conference World Nutrition Rio2012. She was very impressed with the quality of the conference and the speakers, and she finally found a place where she felt she belonged as public health nutritionist. I heard her comments from the conference and immediately decided to be part of such an important organization. I hope that my certification will be the beginning of a process that will encourage colleagues to be part of this incredible initiative.

Since I believe in the importance of the certification, I hope also to be able to help the certification review team.

Q. Why did you decide to become certified?
There are so many people that describe themselves as nutritionists (in our case, public health nutritionists) that I think it is crucial to have entities that provide protection to us as a group, to our employees and to the community. I believe it is essential to be certified and to regulate our profession. Certification can help ensure better standards for our profession internationally.

Q. How was the process of preparing and submitting and application?
It was not as hard as I thought. I basically had to summarize my experience and provide evidence of my knowledge, which I consider to be the right path to follow. One interesting part of the application process is that you do not only need to document your current skills, knowledge and experience, but also reflect upon what skills and knowledge you are actually missing and how you will fill these gaps in the upcoming years. This is a very important

part of the process, I believe. Being certified does not mean we do not need to continue improving as a professional.

Q. What value do you think the title cPHN now adds to your career?
I strongly believe that being a cPHN will help people from all over the world to recognize people with vast experience in the field of public health nutrition, and with knowledge and skills at the highest level. It will also help people who do not know about foreign universities to recognize the quality of the professional, increasing the chances for highly qualified professionals who did not graduate from top universities, for example.

Being a certified Public Health Nutritionist is particularly important nowadays, were tons of information is available via the internet. It is our role to ensure the quality of our profession. All of us together.

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How to apply to become a cPHN?
Applications are accepted all year long, and to apply you must be a member of WPHNA. You should send your curriculum vitae and the completed statement template to the Certification Schemes Registrar via email. Once received, the application will be processed and you will receive instructions for payment of the certification fee. The current fee for certification is 100 Euro per year for applicants from high income countries, and 60 Euro per year for applicants from low and middle income countries. Fees can be paid annually along with WPHNA membership renewal fees, or you can choose to pay for a 5-year certification.

Go to the Applications page.

For more detailed information about how the certification scheme works, visit our Certification page.

Certification reviewers
We are recruiting certification reviewers to participate in the certification scheme process. More details will be posted shortly, but you can already indicate your interest by sending an email to secretariat@wphna.org

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