Following a successful pilot project in early 2018, a new dietitian call centre has opened within the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition. Eat Well Saskatchewan was a pilot project funded through a partnership between Dietitians of Canada and the Government of Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (Saskatchewan) last year. The pilot program was a resounding success, which led to discussions on how to continue the project in a sustainable setting.
In the new partnership with the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, the federal government is providing $210,000 of new funding over three years to continue Eat Well Saskatchewan.
“The college was a natural choice to become the home for the call centre,” said Dr. Carol Henry (PhD), associate dean of nutrition. “It complements the similar services we’re providing to the pharmacy community and provides an environment in which evidence-based nutritional information can be trusted.”
The call centre will provide free nutritional information to the public and health-care professionals. One key goal carried over from the pilot project is to fill the gap for rural, remote, and isolated communities, as many of them lack access to the services of a dietitian.
Registered dietitian Carrie Lambden was hired in January as the centre’s co-ordinator. A USask nutrition graduate, Lambden worked for nearly 10 years as a community nutritionist for the Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC). During her time with STC, she travelled to Indigenous communities to provide nutrition counselling and professional expertise to individuals and groups.
Lambden’s experience with Indigenous communities gives her the knowledge needed to take a culturally sensitive approach to providing nutrition information. She understands the unique food environments and nutrition needs of Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan.
“This new service is intended to provide credible nutrition information to both the public and health-care professionals,” said Lambden.
“There’s a lot of misinformation about food online, and our goal is to become a resource people can trust.”
Registered dietitians are health-care professionals who are trained to provide advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition. They use the best available evidence, coupled with good judgment about the client’s or communities’ unique values and circumstances, to determine guidance and recommendations.
The centre can provide basic nutritional information to callers and refer them to other health-care resources as needed.
It’s not intended to replace an in-person consultation with a registered dietitian or a visit to a family physician, but it will be able to assist people in finding a dietitian for further in-person consultations or other related services, such as a diabetes educator.
Members of the general public and health-care professionals can contact the centre Monday through Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm by phone at 1-833-966-5541, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.