I grew up and have lived all my life in Australia. I initially trained and practiced as a clinical dietitian and quickly got frustrated with the downstream clinical and reactive responses to ‘affluenza’ (those preventable diet-related diseases of excess consumption). Much of what I have learned about the practice of public health nutrition, particularly in areas such as breastfeeding promotion and maternal nutrition, has been by trial and error; borrowing, applying and evaluating ideas from others working in middle- and low-income countries, and learning from mistakes.
This experience has galvanised my belief that progress in public health depends on building capacity, notably by workforce development, and also by development of leadership, intelligence, organizations and respecting and empowering communities. I still train dietitians and nutritionists, but with a vision that they go on to practice and progress public health nutrition because they are better prepared for practice than I was, and have the passion required to make a difference.
For the last 15 years as an academic/educator I have been principally involved in public health nutrition workforce development in Australia, and have consulted and collaborated on projects in the European Union and Indonesia. My executive role within the WPHNA is as Secretary of Professional Affairs, developing and overseeing the Associations certification, accreditation and capacity building initiatives with a view to strengthening the public health nutrition community worldwide.