Role Paper of the Dietitians of Canada Aboriginal Nutrition Network: Registered Dietitians in Aboriginal Communities – Feeding Mind, Body and Spirit

Nov. 2, 2012

News Release

Role Paper of the Dietitians of Canada Aboriginal Nutrition Network:  

Registered Dietitians in Aboriginal Communities – Feeding Mind, Body and Spirit. 

Today, the Aboriginal Nutrition Network, a professional practice network within Dietitians of Canada, released its 2nd edition of “Registered Dietitians in Aboriginal Communities – Feeding Mind, Body and Spirit” .  The paper is publicly available, downloadable from the Dietitians of Canada website – go to:

First published in 2006, this paper has been used by health professionals and community leaders as a go-to resource for facts on nutrition and Aboriginal peoples when advocating for funding to build community capacity for nutrition services. Each section provides information about how a Registered Dietitian can be a valued member of a wholistic health care team.

It includes sections that describe the roles of Registered Dietitians in primary health care and health promotion, and provides further detail specific to Aboriginal peoples and health issues such as food insecurity, nutrition in pregnancy and early years, managing chronic diseases, mental health and substance abuse.

In partnership with The Saint Elizabeth First Nations, Inuit and Métis Program, the Aboriginal Nutrition Network of Dietitians of Canada is pleased to announce a webinar scheduled for January 10th 2013 at 1:00pm EST, which will provide an overview of key messages within the role paper.  Visit registration information.

Good nutrition is crucial in determining the health and well-being of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. The economic, social and psychological burden of nutrition-related chronic disease is high. This role paper addresses the unique needs of Aboriginal communities in Canada, including food security and the high cost of store-bought food in some communities, social inequalities and the environmental threats to traditional food intake.

Registered Dietitians collaborate with Aboriginal communities, programs and services to help plan and integrate approaches to improve health while addressing the diversity in traditions and culture. Registered Dietitians can help to provide the counseling, teaching, policy development, health promotion and research work needed to help communities build their nutrition knowledge to fight disease and maintain health. Studies show, however, that current nutrition services fall far short of what is needed in communities.

The paper is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Lillian McGregor, distinguished and cherished Elder, who supported the work of the Aboriginal Nutrition Network since its inaugural meeting in 2002. Her wisdom, guidance and unerring support of the role of nutrition and dietetics in health and wellness was an inspiration to members of the Aboriginal Nutrition Network.

About Saint Elizabeth

Saint Elizabeth is an award-winning, not-for-profit and charitable health care organization known for its track record of social innovation and breakthrough clinical practices responding to client, family and health system needs.  The organization’s team of over 6,500 nurses, rehabilitation therapists, personal support workers and crisis-intervention staff deliver more than five million health care visits annually.

About the Saint Elizabeth First Nations, Inuit and Métis Program

Through partnership and collaboration, the program works to enhance and support the capacity of FNIM communities to understand and solve complex health care issues, improve access and address barriers to care. Activities include partnership, action-based research, online learning, knowledge exchange and mobilization.  For more information on the FNIM Program please visit

The program combines wise practices and innovative technologies with meaningful involvement of First Nation, Inuit and Métis partners. Currently more than 1,300 health care providers from over 350 First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and organizations across Canada are actively participating in the program’s knowledge exchange initiatives. 

About Dietitians of Canada

Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the national professional association representing about 6,000 members at the local, provincial and national levels.

This role paper, now publicly available on the DC website, informs decision makers about the dietitian’s role in Aboriginal communities, to enhance nutrition services and promote health and wellbeing in Aboriginal peoples. The Aboriginal Nutrition Network is a professional practice network with 166 members across the country.

For more information:

Elisa Levi, RD, MPH
Aboriginal Nutrition Network
[email protected]

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