Gina Sunderland, MSc, RD
PRIVATE PRACTICE & CLINICAL NUTRITION
for something nutrishus
Gina is a Canadian dietitian that I feel I know already, even though we have yet to meet in real life. However, there are many things about her that I think will surprise you. I've seen her in various media clips which is likely the reason she feels so familiar to me. She's also a fellow prairie girl and I love her optimism about the future of our profession.
Why did you become a RD?
After high school I was travelling in Scandinavia with an international musical group called Up With People. Part of our tour took me to Sweden. I became captivated by the Scandinavian lifestyle focusing on healthy food choices and physical activity. I knew I was not destined to be a travelling musician, and it became clear to me that with my love of cooking, a career in nutrition would be a perfect choice! I sent my application for Foods and Nutrition Dietetics to the University of Manitoba from a mailbox in Denmark, and I have never looked back.
What area of dietetics do you work in?
I feel privileged to work in a few areas of practice, and love the variety!
I work in private practice and as a clinical dietitian three days a week at CancerCare Manitoba. I assist patients with their nutritional needs during cancer treatment, help them manage side-effects that impact on their nutritional intake, and answer questions about natural health products, vitamins, minerals, and herbal products. Oncology has been the most rewarding clinical area I’ve worked in.
After having my second child I decided to open a private practice to allow more flexibility with my work hours. Early on I was asked to appear as a guest on Breakfast Television, and I immediately fell in love with the creative aspect of media work. I enjoy coming up with TV segment ideas, key messages, recipes and food displays to tell a story. I’ve been fortunate to have grown my media presence over the years by partnering with food companies, marketing boards, and public relations agencies to represent a variety of food products and brands.
I am also a co-founder of Media Training Boot Camp with my terrific dietitian business partner Sue Mah. We provide media coaching and training to other dietitians at conferences, events across the country, through webinars, and personalized coaching. We want to ensure dietitians are the media’s go-to nutrition experts!
What are your ‘typical’ daily/weekly tasks?
It’s difficult to describe what a “typical” week look like. Each week is unique and involves a variety of tasks including seeing private clients, oncology patients, planning TV segments, writing, and working on projects for food companies and marketing boards.
What has been your career path?
I started my career at the London Regional Cancer Centre working with oncology patients. I have also worked in rehab, gynecology, medicine, diabetes education, and internship coordination. Now that I am back in oncology, it feels like the perfect fit!
What advanced education or special training do you have?
After my Bachelors degree from the University of Manitoba, I completed my Masters of Science at the University of Guelph and my Dietetic Internship at Chedoke McMaster Hospital in Hamilton.
In an ideal world, what does the industry look like 5 years from now?
I see dietitians working in an even greater variety of practice areas by taking leading roles as bloggers, recipe developers, nutrition experts in grocery stores, food industry, media, agriculture, and health promotion/disease prevention. Ideally, every Canadian should have access to the expertise of a registered dietitian!
What would you like people to know about RDs?
RDs have unique skills and can work in a wide range of areas. You’ll find us working in wellness institutes, private practice, grocery stores, hospitals, fitness centers, in the media, doing professional writing, teaching at colleges and universities, and much more!
What is your favourite meal?
The first that comes to mind is grilled salmon, asparagus, roast potatoes and a crisp green salad.
Anything else you’d like to add that you feel would be valuable:
I love the challenge and diversity of work that is available to someone who calls themselves an RD. It is amazing to see all the great work colleagues across the country are doing. We are a smart, capable, creative group of professionals, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!
More about Gina:
Facebook: Gina Sunderland, MSc, RD
LinkedIn: Gina Sunderland