A passion in food and the satisfaction of helping people led to Vanessa Chong to be adventurous in different food and different cultures. This together with the realisation that everything that is fed into our mouth everyday is guided by a profession (dietitian) led to her decision to study Nutrition and Dietetics. She started studying for her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at IMU (the only private university offering this programme) in 2010 and graduated in 2014. Vanessa is currently working at a wellness center, focusing on prevention of diseases via healthy eating. Besides health screening, she is also focusing on nutrigenomics – the study of the relation between your genetics and nutrition. A typical day at work for Vanessa includes giving consultation, providing health talks and developing nutritional materials. “This is my first job ever since I graduated. Before that, I was working as a part-time nutritionist at a supplements outlet. It was then that I realised that a lot of people are eating supplements without understanding it, do not change their lifestyle and take supplemention for granted. Then I got this job where I am able to counsel the public on taking supplements and at the same time I am able to educate them on the latest evidence based on nutritional advice.”
Vanessa believes that she learnt about responsibility, competency and presentation – three significant skills that she developed while studying at IMU. She also believes that the training at IMU has made her to be a versatile dietitian who is able to adapt to different environments. Besides that, she was also equipped with the skills of communicating with different age groups of people and the professional knowledge for her job.
“Community is part of my work and my daily life. Some days, I also give diet consultation to my friends and family. Community work involves educating the public on nutrition, particularly in workplaces where people usually spent 2/3 of their time in the office. In order to do this, the support from workplace HR department to enhance the workplace wellness is essential.“
|Your future plans|
|To do more nutritional education that can reach out to the public more easily instead of having the concept of only seeing the dietitian in the hospital. I want to have a diet and wellness center that the public can be easily assessed and also give some practical ideas. I want to tranform the book type of evidence based diet into a practical way.|
|Advice to juniors going into the healthcare industry in general|
|Yes, we need more professionals to reach out and educate the public so that they will not get blinded by marketing advertisments.|