Our Vision for UQ Nutrition & Dietetics is to inspire and create future leaders who innovate, generate and translate nutrition knowledge for a better world.


I am delighted to welcome you to our inaugural Nutrition and Dietetics newsletter. We plan this newsletter to be a regular feature of how we communicate and engage with our many stakeholders and partners in practice settings. 

Thank you to everyone who has welcomed me to UQ. I certainly joined in the middle of disruption caused by Covid-19 and marvelled at the way the academic staff, our clinical partners and our students coped with the ever-changing rules and regulations that we have now learnt to live with. We were able to graduate all our students in July 2020 on time but with little ceremony. Our current students have been somewhat impacted but with extensions to semesters our plans are that they too will graduate with the required competencies. Thank you to everyone who has
been so accommodating to placements timing and locations! 

The team at UQ are all Accredited Practicing Dietitians, committed to delivering outstanding knowledge, health, and societal outcomes via a portfolio of basic, applied, and clinical research. The photo of the team is the first one we have managed to have together since I joined UQ, let’s hope that 2021 is less of a roller coaster!  

Professor Helen Truby,
Professor & Chair in Nutrition & Dietetics 
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences 

Staff updates

It is no doubt that the year 2020 was a year full of the unexpected. The University offered voluntary separation scheme.  There are never any predetermined number of separations being offered by UQ, and it can often be a surprise to staff when their expression of interest is successful.  

So, it is with sadness but celebration to announce that two of our nutrition and dietetics team members received this offer. Dr Karen Abbey has finished as of 31st December 2020. Karen was recognised for her research and work in the foodservice and aged care sector and taught into the Master of Dietetics program.  

Dr Michael Leveritt, who will be finishing on 30th June 2021. Michael is a Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics in the School of Human Movement Studies and is currently the program convenor for UQ's Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences degree, who also teaches students in the Master of Dietetics Studies program. Michael brings a wealth of knowledge to the department with his interests in nutrition to enhance sport and exercise performance. 

While we are saddened to lose 2 valuable team members, we are at the same time happy for both, as they embark on their new journeys, both professional and personal. 

UQ also introduced the “Above and Beyond” in 2020 as a one-off award scheme that seeks to recognise and acknowledge the remarkable achievements of UQ staff pivoting to support students’ learning under unprecedented circumstances in Semester 1 2020. 

As COVID-19 and ever-changing Public Health guidelines required us to work and learn from home, UQ’s teachers worked tirelessly to ensure that learning experiences, for which the University is renowned, were impacted as little as possible. 

Our UQ Nutrition and Dietetics team and Cheryl Collins were both nominated for this award. Cheryl being the coordinator for our clinical placements was nominated for her initiative to create an innovative way to help students maintain their clinical practice and counselling skills. Cheryl worked hard to set up zoom simulation sessions where students were rostered through case studies in groups of 3, where a student was either a dietitian, client or peer with an APD supervising for feedback.

This not only supported students transition to learning from home but helped to maintain where possible, an experience that students would normally experience face to face. The team as a whole of course also worked tirelessly to help transition the student experience to the online or multi-modal environment to support learning from home. This involved hours of recordings or double teachings to ensure students had equitable learning experiences and supportive environments to connect and learn in a new-age fashion given the nature of dietetics practice.


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Master of Dietetic Studies Program Updates

It was no secret that 2020 highlighted the need for flexibility in placement timing and duration or ‘doing things differently’. There were some benefits of on-line learning and rapid adoption of new technology to engage learners (and staff!!). We learn from all experiences, good and bad, and have been using a design process or framework, ‘vision back casting’, to engage with all our stakeholders, graduate and students to hear from them what their vision was for our Program. 

Zara Nance was employed to conduct valuable focus group sessions that provided insight and feedback for direction and future attributes that employers would like to see in our graduates.  These sessions included all key stakeholders who feed into the program including academic staff, past graduates, consultative board members and both clinical educators and placement supervisors. Whilst this project is still in progress, it will provide us with a framework of how we deliver dietetics to realise our vision and how we will measure success.  

So, with a vision for the future and an eye on the nature of pandemics, we have introduced more flexibility to when we can have students out on placement. We have moved some of our teaching to more intensive blocks and will remain supporting students whilst on placement using Zoom meetings. We will extend Semester 2 to meet partner requests for placement timings that are outside current semester timelines. We aim to be as flexible as possible in terms of placement timing and prepare students for placement using simulation, expanding our own clinic and by making more use of interprofessional education experiences.  


Semester 1, 2021 intake, 1st Year

Course Co-ordinator Course
Dr Clare Dix & Ms Cheryl Collins                            Medical Nutrition Therapy and Professional Practice 1 (UQ clinics/ Interprofessional Education/ Simulations)                                    
Dr Olivia Wright  Interviewing & Counselling for Dietetics Practice 
Dr Veronique Chachay  Applied Food Sciences for Dietetics 
Dr Clare Dix Professional Practice 1- Community & Public Health Nutrition -theory & 20 days placement
Prof. Helen Truby Professional Practice 2-Food Service Management - 20 days placement 

Semester 2, 2021 intake, 1st Years

Course Co-ordinator Course
Dr Clare Dix & Ms Cheryl Collins Medical Nutrition Therapy and Professional Practice 2
Dr Clare Dix  Evidence based practice 
Ms Cheryl Collins Professional Practice 3 - acute care & UQ clinic placements- 25 days
Dr Clare Dix Professional Practice 1- Community & Public Health Nutrition -theory & 20 days placement
Prof. Helen Truby Professional Practice 2-Food Service Management - theory & 20 days placement 

Semester 1, 2020 intake, 2nd Years

Course Co-ordinator Course
Dr Clare Dix Evidence based practice
Prof. Helen Truby   Professional Practice 4 -Food Service Management - 20 days placement 
Assoc. Prof. Judy Bauer Research project - #4 unit course
Ms Cheryl Collins Professional Practice 5 (additional 20 days placement)
  Elective of choice
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Research Updates

In 2020, the Nutrition & Dietetic team members published 50 peer-reviewed articles across areas of knowledge creation (15), experimental and basic science (3), cohorts and cross-sectional studies (3), randomised controlled trials (4), implementation and evidence based practice (9), reviews and meta-analyses (12), and 4 editorials and position papers. 

Within the team, our research areas embrace a diverse range of interests including: 

  • Nutrition screening, nutrition assessment including body composition assessment, nutritional requirements, nutrition diagnosis, international nutrition and dietetics terminology and dietetics outcomes research 

  • Medical Nutrition Therapy for particular conditions and patient groups e.g. oncology nutrition, renal nutrition and nutrition for older adults, paediatrics, functional nutrition therapy for chronic disease management 

  • Immunonutrition, bioactive food constituents, functional foods and beverages, including functional nutrition therapies 

  • Clinical practice care and service redesign, implementing and evaluating the application of evidence-based care on patient outcomes, including in malnutrition, oncology, childhood nutrition and maternity 

  • Nutritional genomics in healthy ageing 

  • Dietary factors and the modulation of the gut microbiota 

  • Food and nutrition service policy, evaluation, practice and management 

  • Dietetics and nutrition education 

  • Nutrition for sport performance 

Snippets from a few of our recent research projects

Comparative weight loss with popular diets 

Truby H, Haines TP. Comparative weight loss with popular diets. BMJ. 2020 Apr 1;369:m1269.  

Read full article: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32238348/    

How should health professionals advise patients who want or need to lose weight? Qualitative literature describes participants’ experiences of different popular diets and methods of losing weight, including the need for ongoing support individuals in the secure knowledge that reducing dietary energy intake—regardless of macronutrient composition—will result in modest weight loss after six months. 

The extensive range of popular diets (analysed) provides a plethora of choice but no clear winner. So conversations should shift away from specific choice of diet and focus instead on how best to maintain any weight loss achieved.    

Persuading the public to adopt eating patterns consistent with dietary guidelines remains problematic. If we are to change the weight trajectory of whole populations, we might learn more from understanding how commercial diet companies engage and retain their customers, and translate that knowledge into more effective health promotion campaigns.


Association of carbonated soft drink and fast food intake with stress-related sleep disturbance among adolescents: A global perspective from 64 countries 

Khan A, Dix C, Burton NW, Khan SR, Uddin R. Association of carbonated soft drink and fast food intake with stress-related sleep disturbance among adolescents: A global perspective from 64 countries. eClinicalMedicine, 2020

Read full article: doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100681  

Eating too much junk food has been linked with poor sleep quality in teens, a UQ -led study has found. Frequent consumption of soft drinks and fast food was strongly associated with sleep disturbance in adolescents around the world. Overall, 7.5 per cent of adolescents reported stress-related sleep disturbance, which was more common among females than males. Frequent consumption of soft drinks more than three times a day, and fast foods more than four days per week, were significantly associated with sleep disturbance in all but low-income countries. 

Data were collected from the World Health Organization’s Global School-based Health Surveys between 2009 and 2016, which included 175,261 students aged 12 to 15 years from 64 low, middle, and high income countries across South East Asia, Africa, parts of South America and the Eastern Mediterranean.    

The findings are of particular concern as poor quality sleep adversely impacts on adolescent wellbeing and cognitive development. The targeting of these unhealthy behaviours needs to be a priority of policies and planning. As stress-related sleep disturbance was more common among girls than boys, girls should be a priority target group for associated interventions that could target stress management and sleep quality. Creating school environments to limit access to carbonated soft drinks and fast foods, and introducing a sugar tax to lessen the sales of soft drinks may be beneficial. Family can also be instrumental in promoting healthy eating as the adoption and maintenance of children's dietary behaviours are influenced by their familial environments.


Translating Evidence-Based Guidelines into Practice—Are We Getting It Right? A Multi-Centre Prospective International Audit of Nutrition Care in Patients with Foregut Tumors (INFORM) 

Findlay M, Bauer, JD, Dhaliwal R, de van der Schueren M, Laviano A, Widaman A, Martin L, Day AG, Gramlich LM, Translating Evidence-Based Guidelines into Practice—Are We Getting It Right? A Multi-Centre Prospective International Audit of Nutrition Care in Patients with Foregut Tumors (INFORM). Nutrients 2020, 12, 3808. 

Read full article: doi.org/10.3390/nu12123808  

Malnutrition is highly prevalent in patients with foregut tumors comprising head and neck (HNC) and esophageal (EC) cancers, negatively impacting outcomes. This study describes and evaluates current international nutrition care practices compared with the best-available evidence for patients with foregut tumors who are at high risk of malnutrition.



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