Spotlight on new staff: Welcome Sophie Palyga

In January this year we welcomed Sophie Palyga to the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Flinders University. Sophie brings her experience in and passion for community and public health nutrition to the Flinders team. She shares with us what her new role involves, her areas of interest, and career to date.

My teaching role is as a Placement Educator for final year Community and Public Health placements at UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (UCWB). This year the Department has entered into an exciting new partnership with UCWB to provide an opportunity for students to practice community and public health nutrition. This year we will host 16 students in total over four rotations, and offer students a varied and interesting array of community nutrition opportunities in a non-government setting.

With the changing landscape of community nutrition in recent years I feel enthusiastic about sharing the benefits of working in a NGO setting with future dietitians. Through the partnership there is also a focus on raising the profile of dietitians in the non-for-profit sector, and we hope to see a number of Flinders graduates find future employment with organisations similar to UCWB.

I continue in my position as the Volunteer Coordinator for SA Community Foodies which is a role I have been in for over three years and found to be diverse and extremely rewarding. Previous to this I have worked for a number of great community health programs here in SA including the Royal Flying Doctor Service Healthy Living Program, Healthy Eating Local Policies and Programs and Start Right-Eat Right. I really value the contribution these programs have made to the community by increasing capacity for healthy eating.

I feel very excited to be able to pass on my experience and passion for health promotion to the next generation of emerging dietitians. I look forward to seeing how they apply their theoretical knowledge of health promotion to ‘real world’ settings.

During student rotations I will be based at UCWB for my work and at Flinders between placements. My days of work are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday so please get in contact if you have any questions about this fantastic partnership.

Sophie Palyga

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