Thursday, May 10, 2007

Nutritional Science, Dietitians, Educators Venture Across Borders

Raising Awareness About Nutrition and
Health Issues Through Story and the Arts

Food for Thought

Jacqui Gingras was trained in a positivist tradition
but found her dietitian's training did not prepare
her for comments like,

"I hate my body! I won't eat that. It has too much fat.
I'm overwhelmed. I don't want to be here. I want to die."

Jacqui Gingris Ph.D., RD is an Assistant Professor at Ryerson
University's School of Nutrition and her research engages
autoethnographic, phenomenological and arts informed methods
as helpful approaches in understanding dietetic theory,
education and practice. The winner of the Ted Aoki Prize
for Outstanding Dissertation in Curriculum Studies
courageously ventured across traditional borders to
offer a progressive course for students at Ryerson called
"The Art of Storytelling Advances in Nutrition
Counselling Practice."
"The main text (story) used in this course
is an autoethnographic fiction written by
the instructor about dietetic students/practitioners,
education, and practice called, "Longing for Recognition."
This story will ideally provoke critical thinking about
food and nutrition practice and position storytelling
as a powerful medium to understand others with
whom the student will engage during her/his own
nutrition counselling practice. "2.
1. Quote from Gingras, Jacqueline R. Unkept Promises, Secrets
and Perils Within Dietetic Education and Practice, thesis Feb. 06

And in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at The
University of Toronto a new pilot arts module was
introduced to graduate students in order to help explore
the arts as a means of raising awareness about food
and community health issues.
Ann Fox Ph.D., MHSc, RD developed the arts module
which was incorporated into the existing nutrition
program to determine how the arts could be used
in nutrition education.
Many arts based approached were used
such as using photo essays to explore urban
landscape related to physical activity, collage,
painting and poetry approaches..

Ann Fox reports, "for both the students and for me
the engagement of dimensions that often
remain untapped in conventional science-based
health studies contributed significantly to our
shared sense of discovery...Student feedback,
as well as my own reflection throughout, indicated
that the module was successful, not just in terms of
meeting the intended objectives, but also in
inspiring students to think and learn in different

For article "Giving Voice to My Own Astonishment"
by Jacqui Gingras, PhD. RD.
(New Paradigms in Nutritional Sciences)
see CCAHTE Journal, March 07,, pg. 12

For the full article "Implementing a Pilot
Arts Module in Graduate Community Nutrition
Training" by Ann Fox see CCAHTE Journal, March 07
issue, pg. 13.