Dietitians of Canada

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Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the professional association for dietitians representing members at the local, provincial and national levels. The association is governed by a Board of Directors elected by members and is one of the largest organizations of food and nutrition professionals in the world.[1] Dietitians of Canada provides evidence-based food and nutrition information, supports easier access to adequate, safe and healthy food, promotes professional best practices and advocates for better access to dietitians to meet the health needs of Canadians. On behalf of PDEP, DC accredits Canadian dietetics education and training programs. They do not regulate the dietetics profession; this is the role of provincial dietetic regulatory bodies.[2]

Dietitians are university educated and regulated health professionals. As evidence-based practitioners, dietitians translate complex scientific evidence into practical solutions to promote health and well-being.[3] In Canada, dietitians practice in widely diverse settings. You will find dietitians working in community health centers, healthcare institutions, government at all levels, sports and recreation facilities, private practice, public health, health related non-governmental organizations, food service and the food industry, academic and research settings.

To use the title Registered Dietitian (RD) or Professional Dietitian (PDt), dietitians must be registered with the dietetic regulatory body in the Canadian province in which they practice. Dietitians have a university degree that has been accredited by PDEP and at least 1250 hours of supervised, hands-on training in food systems, disease management, population health, communications and counselling. Many have additional degrees or certificates. Ongoing professional development is not only a core value but a requirement. Dietitians must pass a registration exam to become a regulated professional (except in Quebec). The title ‘dietitian’ is protected by law, just like physician, nurse or pharmacist. In contrast, ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected title – that means anyone can use it (except in Nova Scotia and Quebec). In Alberta, Registered Nutritionist is protected.[4]

History[edit]

Dietitians of Canada has its roots in the Canadian Dietetic Association (CDA), established in 1935. After successfully advocating for the establishment of provincial dietetic regulatory bodies, in 1997, the provincial dietetic associations merged with CDA to form DC.[5][6]

In 1991, DC established the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (www.cfdr.ca), a registered charitable foundation that grants funds for research to increase practice-based evidence in nutrition and food science.[7]

In 2000, DC helped found the International Confederation for Dietetic Associations (ICDA). There are more than 40 national dietetic association members, representing 180,000 dietitians and nutritionists worldwide.

In 2009, DC helped form the Partnership for Dietetics Education and Practice (PDEP), an alliance of dietetics regulatory bodies, dietetics educators and DC. The group sets standards of competence for education and practice and accredits dietetics education programs across Canada.

Nathalie Savoie, RD, MBA, is the current Chief Executive Officer of Dietitians of Canada, a role that is accountable to the Board of Directors.[8] As CEO she is also appointed by the Board as the DC Corporate Secretary. As the most senior staff member, she is responsible and accountable to the Board for ensuring the organization makes progress on the priorities as established by the Board of Directors and at a pace agreed upon with the Board, and for ensuring the organization operates within the policy boundaries set by the Board.

Membership[edit]

Dietitians of Canada welcomes as members registered dietitians, those studying to be dietitians as well as students in food science and nutritional science and graduates of these programs who are pursuing a career in dietetics or working in an area relevant to dietetics. Dietitians of Canada also welcomes as members internationally educated or qualifying dietitians.[9]

Dietitians of Canada works with members to raise the profile of the profession, support them in their practice, and to create new opportunities for growth, learning and development.

Activities[edit]

Dietitians of Canada undertakes a broad range of activities on behalf of its members including:

Leadership in shaping food and nutrition policy[edit]

At the national, provincial and local levels, DC works collaboratively with governments and like-minded health organizations, sharing their expertise as:[10]

  • Partners to advance public policy on nutrition labelling, chronic disease prevention and management, food insecurity, and children’s healthy growth and development
  • Advocates to promote access to healthy food for all
  • Appointed experts on federal and provincial government working groups, panels and task forces to address issues such as prenatal, infant and school nutrition
  • Collaborators on national and provincial alliances and coalitions to advance common objectives such as restrictions on advertising to children, a healthier food supply and health system improvements.

Access to trusted food and nutrition information[edit]

Dietitians of Canada provides easier access to trusted food and nutrition information through their bilingual websites Dietitians of Canada and EatRight Ontario, mobile apps (Cookspiration, eaTracker, eaTipster). Dietitians of Canada helps the public find dietitians working in private practice through their database of 700 consulting dietitians. Ninety-four per cent (94%) of Canadians agree dietitians are a credible source of food and nutrition information.

Annual Nutrition Month campaign[edit]

For over 35 years, Dietitians of Canada has organized Nutrition Month in March with a goal of providing information and guidance to Canadians making it a little easier to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food. The annual campaign engages hundreds of members in its planning and delivery. The annual media reach is 30-55 million.[11] The 2015 Campaign won the Canadian Society of Association Executives - ‘Associations Make A Better Canada’ Award.

Each year, a Nutrition Month theme is selected by Dietitians of Canada based on a scan of the environment and with input from members. Themes have varied from the 1988 campaign on “Healthy Weights in 88” to “Nourishing our Children’s Future” in 1994 to “Get the real deal on your meal” in 2012 to “Simply Cook and Enjoy!” in 2014.[12]

Dietitians Day[edit]

Once a year, a special day is dedicated to all dietitians across Canada. It celebrates dietitians as health care professionals, committed to using their specialized knowledge and skills in food and nutrition to improve the health of Canadians. March 16, 2016 marked the seventh anniversary of Dietitians Day in Canada.


Better access to dietitians[edit]

Reviews of the scientific literature reveal that including a dietitian on the health team can lead to better health outcomes and save health care dollars. Dietitians work collaboratively with a wide variety of health professionals including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, rehabilitation professionals and social workers across the health system – in public health, primary care, home care, long term care and acute care.

EatRight Ontario Dietitian Contact Centre. Since 2007, DC has helped Ontario residents access trusted nutrition advice from dietitians through a toll-free telephone number, e-mail and an interactive website (www.eatrightontario.ca) funded by the Government of Ontario. Dietitians of Canada also advocates for dietitian contact centres in provinces that do not have one in place.

Advocacy for inclusion on extended health care plans. Most health insurance companies include dietitian services as an option for employee health care plans but employers don’t always opt to include dietitian services. Dietitians of Canada is working to fix that.

Advocacy on malnutrition in hospitals. In partnership with the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, DC is bringing attention to the issue of patient safety stemming from the high prevalence of malnutrition in Canadian hospitals.

Workforce Planning. Dietitians of Canada collaborates with provincial dietetic regulatory bodies to assess the current dietetic workforce - a critical step in planning for a workforce that will meet the health needs of society. Dysphagia Management. To support interprofessional care, DC has partnered with the national associations representing occupational therapists and speech language pathologists to deliver joint professional development and practice guidance on dysphagia management.

Evidence-based standards and resources[edit]

Professional Development[edit]

Dietitians of Canada has a diverse portfolio of professional development including an annual national conference held in a major Canadian city attended by up to 900 delegates and regional events attended by about 2500 delegates annually.[13] The association hosts 200+ e-learning products and online courses including the Critical Care Nutrition course approved by PEN® and two provincial dietetic regulatory bodies.

Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice[edit]

The Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research is the official peer-reviewed publication of Dietitians of Canada provided to all association members. Review abstracts of all articles published since 2002 online and download full articles for a small fee or subscribe to this quarterly publication.

PEN® - Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition[edit]

PEN® - Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition, the online global resource for nutrition practice, is a leading edge, comprehensive nutrition knowledge base that provides evidence-based practice guidance and tools for food and nutrition professionals around the world. It is certified by the HONCode. The global PEN® service is governed in partnership with the British Dietetic Association and the Dietitians Association of Australia.

Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR)[edit]

A charitable foundation established by Dietitians of Canada in 1991 to provide grants for research by dietitians. These grants are awarded from a research fund made possible by donations received from Dietitians of Canada and other corporations, dietitians and other individuals, governments and other charitable foundations that are committed to the nutritional wellbeing of Canadians.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  2. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  3. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  4. ^ Become a Dietitian [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/become-a-dietitian/overview.aspx
  5. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  6. ^ Brownridge E, Upton E. Canadian dietitians: making a difference, rejoice in the past, reflect for the future. Toronto: Canadian Dietetic Association; 1993.
  7. ^ Brownridge E, Upton E. Canadian dietitians: making a difference, rejoice in the past, reflect for the future. Toronto: Canadian Dietetic Association; 1993.
  8. ^ Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research Staff [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada. [cited 2016Apr11]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/about-us/staff.aspx
  9. ^ Become a Member [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/about-us/become-a-member/who-can-become-a-dc-member.aspx
  10. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  11. ^ Dietitians of Canada Corporate Profile [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr9]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/downloads/public/dc_corporate_profile.aspx
  12. ^ Nutrition Month History [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr11]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/your-health/nutrition-month/history.aspx
  13. ^ Dietitians of Canada National Conference [Internet]. Dietitians of Canada; [cited 2016Apr11]. Retrieved from: http://www.dietitians.ca/learn/events/national-conference.aspx
  14. ^ CFDR - Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research [Internet]. CFDR - Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research. [cited 2016Apr11]. Retrieved from: http://www.cfdr.ca/index.aspx

External links[edit]