It’s been awhile since I reflected on my career path and how I came to be the provincial lead for therapeutic oncology services at the BC Cancer Agency. My current role provides leadership to the registered dietitians and speech language pathologists working at the Agency. This year, we hope to add exercise specialists and physiotherapists to this group. Besides leadership, my role also supports practice in the areas of clinical care, education, community partnerships and research.

So where did I begin my professional journey and what are the many roads that I travelled to land here? (I’m feeling a bit like Bilbo Baggins from Tolkien’s The Hobbit). I’m a registered dietitian and have been for over 30 years. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, majoring in food science and did my dietitian’s practicum at the University of Alberta Hospital. In the 1990s, I received my master’s and doctorate degrees in nutritional biochemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Over the years, I have been fortunate to experience many different job types including clinical practice, food service management, population and public health, consulting and academia and geographical locations from St. John’s to Victoria. 

What I love about my field is how diverse, exciting and dynamic it is. Each year, there are thousands of medical journal articles that publish on human nutrition. Not a day goes by without a news story related to health that is focused on food and nutrition.  The challenge (and what occupies a great deal of my time) is translating new knowledge  into evidence-based, person-centred models of care to improve the outcomes and quality of life of cancer patients. I also have the opportunity to assist in disseminating this knowledge across the cancer care landscape—research community, health care practitioners and the public—which is a truly rewarding experience.

Next week, I’ll discuss the importance of the therapeutic oncology program here at the BC Cancer Agency and some exciting research that is currently underway.

Thanks for reading,

Ryna 

Provincial Director, Therapeutic Oncology Services, BC Cancer Agency