Spotlight on: Debbie Madore, RD
Debbie has been working with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board (CB-VRSB) as the Nutrition for Learning Dietitian since 1999. In this capacity Debbie manages all aspects of nutrition programming for all schools in the CB-VRSB. She coordinates the ordering of food and supplies along with volunteer management functions at the program level; and develops and manages key partnerships, budgets, and fundraising initiatives at the board level. Debbie was an active participant on the provincial task force that developed the Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools and continues her work today as part of the policy advisory group tasked with revision. She continues to work towards increasing capacity for policy by providing supports and resources for healthy food in the school setting. She is currently the treasurer for Nourish Nova Scotia and continues to play an integral role in advocating for school breakfast and child nutrition programs.
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy advocating for our youth, talking to people and showing them how to look at school food through a nourishment lens. So often people are trying to fill a hunger gap without thinking about nourishment. I love that I am able to do this everyday.
What have you learned the most from your current job?
I have learned that it is not always easy for so many; that we are surrounded by hungry children and young adults who lack the food literacy skills to cook basic meals. Adding to this, our instant society has created the desire for instant meals that are (sometimes) cheap, but high in unhealthy ingredients, and this food is everywhere, including schools and workplaces. This (instant) food has become a revenue maker for schools, recreation centers and other places and is very frustrating to see the lack of creativity as the business lens does not always consider healthy choices. I have learned that such a cultural shift takes time, patience, evidence and a lot of support.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
My biggest challenge was probably in 1994 when my position ended at the local hospital as we were amalgamating three sites. I was devastated and could not imagine ever working in the field without a hospital job. It forced me to look outside the box and I ended up obtaining experience in Home Care, Sales, and private practice.
What is your favorite type of food?
My comfort food is toast and almond butter. It can be a quick meal when you are on the run. My favorite choice eating out is always a spinach salad, for some reason they taste so good when someone else makes them.
What skill or talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could sew. I go into Fabricville and I am amazed with the talent some people have in creating window dressings and clothing. When I have extra time, I will learn to sew.
What is one tip you could share with future/current dietitians?
Be bold, it is a difficult field as everyone wears a nutrition hat including pharmacists, chiropractors, gyms, and local community people. Of course we cannot forget the local weight management groups. Nutrition is a multibillion-dollar business that people are trying to make money selling the dream of thinness. You need to be the leader in nutrition, without being able to offer a “magic formula” for weight loss.