Spotlight on: Antonia Harvey, P.Dt., MScAHN (Candidate)
Clinical Dietitian, Nova Scotia Health Authority
Antonia has worked as a Clinical Dietitian with the Nova Scotia Health Authority since 2014. She has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient care areas as a casual Clinical Dietitian, and her specific areas of interest include general surgery and gastrointestinal disorders, critical care, and nutrition support. She recently started a new position at the Dartmouth General Hospital in General Medicine and Cardiology.
She is also completing her Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition at Mount Saint Vincent University, and plans to defend her thesis in the coming months. As a graduate student, her work has focused on dietary pattern analysis and the development of effective nutrition education programs for individuals living with a chronic disease who require a therapeutic diet. After she completes her thesis, she will continue to be involved with the Department of Applied Human Nutrition; she is the Winter 2019 lab instructor for the Medical Nutrition Therapy II Lab.
What first sparked your interest in nutrition?
I can't remember any one thing that sparked my interest in nutrition. From a young age I was always interested in biology and other health sciences. One moment that does stand out is watching an episode of the Magic School Bus in which the characters travel through the gastrointestinal system of one of their classmates. The episode focused on digestion and absorption, and I remember being completely enthralled by this process (even though I didn't fully understand what it was). I think in that moment I decided that it didn't matter what I did, as long as it somehow involved the gastrointestinal system. It wasn't until early high school that I realized that being a dietitian would allow me to combine my love of science and food and the desire to work in health care.
What has been your favourite experience as a dietitian?
My favourite experience as a dietitian was when I attended and presented at the Wolfson Medical Centre Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Unit's Research Day in Tel Aviv, Israel. This was facilitated by my thesis supervisor (Dr. Shannan Grant, Mount Saint Vincent University) and Grant Lab collaborators at Dalhousie University and the Wolfson Medical Centre. Although I fell in love with Tel Aviv while I was there, what I enjoyed most was the opportunity to present on behalf of the Grant Lab and share the work being done in the Lab. (For those interested in learning more about the Research Day, an article published by Mount Saint Vincent University can be found here.)
What is your next big goal or project?
My current big goal is to defend my master's thesis in the next few months. After this is completed, I hope to move on to publishing some of the research that was part of my thesis project.
What is one tip you could share with future/current dietitians?
My one piece of advice to future and current dietitians would be to explore different areas of dietetics until you find the type (or types) of work that make you happy. Part of the reason I went back to school to complete my master's was that I wanted to see what the world of research and academia had to offer. I am glad that I did, as I discovered that I really enjoy teaching and research and would like to be involved in these types of activities while I continue to work as a clinical dietitian.