Nutrition staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 response

This week, we are shining a light on the role of our CK Public Health nutrition staff in how they have adapted their work to support the COVID-19 response.

Public Health dietitians work with many community partnerships on a variety of topics every single day. During the current emergency response, CK Public Health has been fortunate to have such experienced and dedicated professionals available to support urgent needs in our community. We are pleased to introduce you to Jennelle, Sylvia and Lyndsay!

Why is nutrition important for public health?

We got into public health because we wanted to make a difference.  Public Health work aims to build healthier communities by keeping people safe and healthy. We do this through education, programs and policy.

Our health is impacted by the food we eat. We work with policy makers to ensure people have access to nutritious foods. And, we provide education about how food can impact our health, but also our environment, our economy and our community.  Food can have an impact on how we feel, it can bring people together, be a comfort, and provide a chance to teach others or to learn for ourselves. As public health dietitians, we work to build awareness around the connections between nutrition, well-being and the health of our community. Really, it’s about making things better where we work, live, learn and play.

What have you been working on and how has the pandemic impacted your regular work?

Food is an essential part of our health and well-being. Our work to promote health continues even during a pandemic. We definitely have had to make some changes to the way we deliver our programs or provide education, but our team continues to support programs that help people get nutritious food and promote healthy eating, by:

  • having virtual meetings with people and groups to help provide food assistance and education;
  • providing more education and support in growing and preparing nutritious food through blog posts, media interviews and video demonstrations;
  • transitioning all of the Building Healthy Babies Prenatal Nutrition Program to an accessible online format
  • supporting the reopening of CK Community Gardens by providing input and direction on newly created safety guideline;
  • working with community partners to help make sure that people and families are able to get access to nutritious food;
  • supporting the emergency shelter committee in meal planning for clients accessing the shelter;
  • supporting the “May 16th Miracle” food drive to ensure donations received met nutritional standards;
  • enhancing support for Emergency Food Providers to ensure they able to operate safely within the new and changing requirements; and
  • providing direction and guidance to community groups that are looking to support increased food access.

All this while continuing with our regular work in the community!

What will you look back on about this time period?

“For me, one of the most rewarding or memorable things has been that even during this crisis, when at times it feels like there is less connection, we have been able to not only strengthen our current partnerships but create new ones that will help now and in the future”  -Lyndsay

Thanks Jennelle, Sylvia and Lyndsay. Chatham-Kent appreciates everything you’re doing!