Lee Sze Mien’s secondary school teacher who is very health conscious, always shared nutrition tips and how to incorporate healthy eating habits into a person’s daily routine during his classes. Sze Mien found this to be very interesting and it sparked her interest in Nutrition and Dietetics. This interest has resulted in her pursuing her interest and starting her studies at the International Medical University (IMU) in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2008 and completing it four years later. Sze Mien is currently working at Food & Nutrition Specialists Pte Ltd. and is a Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association’s (SNDA) Accredited Dietitian, Describing her role in the company, Sze Mien said “My key responsibility is to provide clinical dietetic services to various nursing homes and dialysis centres in Singapore. In the nursing homes, which is often being referred as step-down care or community- based healthcare services in Singapore, where dietitians work with a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, speech therapist, physiotherapist, pharmacist, medical social workers to provide medical and social support for patients. I’m also providing dietetics consultancy to the patients in dialysis centres, my main responsibilities at the dialysis centre is to provide dietetic counselling and to assess nutritional status of haemodialysis patients to ensure that their nutritional needs are met and to encourage the patients to keep biochemical markers within acceptable range.” “I am also actively involved in the development, management and conduct of Singapore Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Healthy Meals programmes for Childcare Centres and Schools. We work closely with HPB as well as various childcare centres and schools in Singapore to deliver training sessions and ensure that cooks, staff and supervisors gained knowledge and skills in providing healthier foods to the students.” “Apart from that, I also provide regulatory consultancy services to food companies in South East Asia. I assist food companies in reviewing their products’ food and nutrition labels, nutrients claims and health claims and other regulatory related issues for compliance with respective regulations in their countries.” Sze Mien believes that IMU has definitely prepared her for work. During her studies at IMU, she underwent internship at different settings, eg. hospital, community clinics and a food service company, which provides her hands-on experience with patients. She feels that she is now much more flexible and adaptable to new working environments and ready to accept new challenges. She is also more independent and motivated, all due to the “No spoon- feeding” teaching style in IMU. Recalling her time at IMU, Sze Mien said, “My most memorable moment at IMU is studying with friends in library during study break. I know this might sounds crazy, but during study break, we actually went to IMU before sunrise and went back home after sunset. We always joke with each other that we are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency during study break.” Upon graduating with her degree from IMU, Sze Mien worked as a Nutritionist in a private nutrition company in Singapore for a year. “My main job scope included development and implementation of workplace health promotion programmes to a wide range of corporate clients in Singapore, which includes nutrition talks and therapeutic nutrition programmes (weight management programme).” Comparing the differences between her first and second job, Sze Mien said, “My first job is more on community- based health promotion activities and the target audience is mostly the public. My second job is more dietetics oriented. Besides working with Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) to provide health promotion activities to the public/ schools/ childcare centres, I am also provide dietetics services to nursing homes and dialysis centres. Apart from that, I am also working with Food Company to develop recipes which is suitable for elderly and diabetic patients”.
For her, seeing an outcome change because of her nutrition intervention is one of the greatest achievement in her career. Sze Mien aims to become the best Dietitian she can be for her patients and in the next few years, she is planning to venture into Food Regulatory Affairs / Regulatory science industries.
All the best to Sze Mien!