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Spotlight on: Heather Hopkins, RD

Diabetes Education Center at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital


Heather graduated from Mount St Vincent University in 1990 and the Victoria General Internship program in 1991. Her first job as a Dietitian was at the Grace Maternity Hospital as the inpatient dietitian covering for a maternity leave(which was an inpatient rotation of her internship that she loved!). From there Heather moved to the South Shore of Nova Scotia to work in the Diabetes Center at Roseway Hospital in Shelburne and then after a year came to Diabetes Education Center at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg. Heather will have her 25th anniversary May 10th, 2018. While there she has done different jobs including long term care, inpatients, outpatients, and a leave of absence to work in Primary Health Care but her all-time favourite is Diabetes Education.

 Heather used to curl competitively but now considers herself a “has-been”. The highlights of her curling career were competing in the 1997 Olympic Trials, the 1998 Scott Tournament of Hearts and winning the 1998 Canadian Mixed with her husband Jeff all in the same curling season. Heather officially retired from the sport in 1999 with the birth of her first child. Heather loves watching her kids do the things they love to do.  She has been married to Jeff for almost 25 years and they have 3 great kids: Kristen, Lauren and Ryan. Heather now spends a lot of time being a mom. Heather and her family love hiking, sailing and hockey.

What one food is always in your fridge/pantry/freezer?

Blend for my coffee and Milk. I am a mom of 3 busy teenagers and love a mug of good coffee in the morning and that includes blend. I always used to drink it black but a fellow I know who is a restauranteur in Halifax taught me about how a little bit of fat can bring out the best flavor in food…and that was long before I was a dietitian! Give me one mug with blend and that’s all I need.

I know there is controversy about if milk should have its own food group but it will always remain one of the most nourishing foods in my fridge. I am raising 3 teenagers including a hockey player and its certainly part of our family’s healthy eating plan…one 4L jug at a time!

How do you unwind when you are not working?

I am busy at home and with my family. My husband and I bought an old farm 5 years ago and I have chickens, a horse and a donkey. I also have 3 border collies and my parents who are in their eighties living with us. There is never a dull moment. I run two of my dogs every weekday at 5:15am to start, do barn chores and pack lunches before heading to work. My mom is a great help to help get supper for whoever happens to be home in the evening. (I spend a lot of time in my vehicle). When we all get to eat supper together it makes me really happy! On the weekends I love being outdoors hiking or sailing but I spend a lot of time at the hockey rink (and I love that too).


What first sparked your interest in nutrition?

I always had an interest in biology and anatomy. I went back to school after taking a few years off and needed an elective towards finishing my biology degree. Nutrition 203 fit right in my schedule and I switched to Nutrition at Christmas time that year.

If you weren't a dietitian, what would you be?

I always thought my dream job would be one where I could wear jeans to work and drive my jeep around with my dog. I haven’t figured out what that job is yet! I think at this point if I had to change careers I would try something totally different. Maybe a little more adventurous. Maybe a job in the film industry, an outdoor adventure guide, or civil rights lawyer. But don’t get me wrong, I am pretty happy just making daily connections with the folks in my community. I am content.

What has been the proudest moment in your career? 

There is not one big moment, there are many moments throughout my career that make me proud. I have never been one for the spotlight (I had 18 people at my wedding even) so it is the little things that make me the happiest. Here is part of an email that my nurse educator Michele Smith and I recently received: “Thank-you very much. When I upload the next time we'll see how it's been working for me. I truly appreciate all your valuable input. I love my appointments with you both, since you are very adept at dispensing valuable advice in a non-judgmental manner with humour and compassion.”I was pretty proud of us that morning and this type of feedback back is what keeps me loving my job.


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