How I became the Pie Chart Dietitian

By Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics graduate Xiao Qian How

Never would I have thought I would be publishing content on social media, as I was an irregular social media user. The motivator for this pursuit was the increasing online misinformation during the pandemic. If not me, then who?

As a health professional, I felt I had the duty of care and responsibility to educate the public on evidence-based health information. Thanks to the pandemic, I stepped out of my comfort zone and acquired new skills such as content creation and graphics designing.

Earlier this year, I published a pie chart infographic (pictured above) debunking people’s impression of the dietitians profession. Before I knew it, the post went viral and I received multiple messages from dietitians around the world who resonated with my post. I am extremely grateful that this pie chart has been translated into multiple languages, with 60,000+ views on Linkedin to date. Since then, I received a new tag, “Pie Chart Dietitian”.

As I gained more experience in my career, I recognised the importance of workforce development and mentoring, especially during the early career stages. I vividly recall the challenges while attempting to secure a job in Australia upon graduation, especially as an international student. Fortunately, I met many lovely Australians who mentored and supported me along my journey. It is also a purely pay-it-forward movement, as I hope that my sharing of experience could help the younger generations to be more employable.

The pie chart pictured below highlights some valuable skills that might be the key differentiator when employers are hiring.

I’m also deeply passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. Thus, I left traditional healthcare and took a leap during the pandemic to return to my motherland. To be honest, it was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make, after having established a stable career and being very settled in Australia for more than a decade.

However, I wasn’t comfortable being too comfortable, seeing that there was much room for improvements in Malaysia’s healthcare industry and the ideas that I could bring to elevate the system. On the other hand, I was determined to create waves in improving health literacy among Malaysians and healthcare conditions through my decade-long clinical expertise.

I joined a digital health start-up, in a clinical leadership position and as a pioneer team member. Digital health is an emerging industry; I appreciate the endless opportunities in the space of technology and innovation beyond the hospital walls. Since the pandemic, we have seen an exponential growth of this ecosystem which provides a cost-effective and accessible healthcare solution.

To all the young graduates, every expert was once a beginner. Try to explore as many areas as possible in the first 5 years of your career. I would tell my younger self, regardless of the outcome, to enjoy the process, put yourself out there, do things you’ve never done, and you will have no regrets.

More about Xiao Qian (BNutDiet ’11)

Xiao Qian graduated from Flinders in 2011 with a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics. Over the past decade, she has gained international experience spanning across many fields within the healthcare sector. Currently, she is the Clinical Lead and pioneer member of LiveSmart (Malaysia), an innovative digital health platform. She has a special interest in healthcare management and has recently been awarded a scholarship to pursue her post-graduate in Healthcare Leadership at Harvard Medical School. Xiao Qian is also a passionate advocate of accessible healthcare for the underprivileged, migrants and refugees. Outside of work, she is actively involved with local and international NGOs, providing professional guidance with her knowledge and expertise. Connect with Xiao Qian on LinkedIn

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