I was born in the Blue Mountains in the lush Australian bush surrounded by wallabies, birds and spiders! When I was growing up we sourced our vegetables from our garden and soaked up the fresh air from the eucalyptus trees. I then moved from the bush to the beach to study for my undergraduate degree in dietetics.
I realised very early on that working with populations rather than individuals, was my thing. I love the fact that everyone can relate to food, because we all have to eat! But, I particularly love looking at the big picture, considering how environmental and social factors contribute to peoples’ food choices, and the influence political and business decisions have in shaping these up-stream determinants of diet. I adored the juicy discussions about these topics at university, and still do with my current colleagues.
My professional experience in public health nutrition began in outback Australia where I worked with remote indigenous communities for two years, focusing on improving the availability of healthy foods in stores and schools. In Melbourne I spent two years at the Heart Foundation working on a project with after-school care facilities introducing healthy eating policies and snack ideas. I then spent a year working in public health policy and commissioning at the Victorian Department of Health before working on a European public health nutrition capacity development project at Trinity College, Dublin.