Plenary speakers

Prof Heather Keller 

Schlegel-UW Research Chair, Nutrition & Aging
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging & University of Waterloo

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Heather Keller RD PhD FDC FCAHS is the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging at the University of Waterloo. She is an internationally recognised expert in geriatric nutrition, assessment, and treatment.

Research areas include, nutrition risk, malnutrition identification and treatment across care sectors, improving nutrition care processes and implementing screening and other best practices, supporting food intake of diverse groups living in the community including those living with dementia, and improving hospital and residential food and promoting food intake and the mealtime experience in these settings.

Professor Keller has led several national research and knowledge translation projects, including the landmark Nutrition Care in Canadian Hospitals, More-2-Eat, and Making the Most of Mealtimes in Long Term Care studies. She has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and translates much of this evidence into practice with tools and resources.

As a founding member and past Chair/Co-chair (2009-2018) of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force, Professor Keller is involved in translating research into practice and advocating for improvements in nutrition care. She is currently the Co-chair of the primary care working group for CMTF and involved in several national and international expert groups advancing the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition.

Topic: CHOICE+: innovation to improve the mealtime experience in senior’s care

Mealtimes in seniors care are often task-focused events that do not live up to the expectations for residents and family. As a natural point for building community and strengthen relationships, meals have the opportunity to promote quality of life and satisfaction. CHOICE+ is an evidence-based program that supports seniors care to identify and make improvements in mealtimes. Training supports champions and team members to identify what needs to change, how to make and evaluate a change.

Dr Jennifer Brady

Acadia University 

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Jennifer Brady is a Registered Dietitian and Director of the School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University in Matalan/Wolfville, Mi’kmaw’ki/Nova Scotia, Turtle Island, Canada. She is the President of World Critical Dietetics.

Jennifer’s broad, interdisciplinary background informs her research which spans critical dietetics and critical nutrition studies, food studies, fat studies, and critical health studies. She draws on critical and feminist theory and qualitative, embodied, and mixed-methods approaches to explore justice-oriented perspectives of food, nutrition, health, and expertise.

Jennifer is particularly interested in the history and professionalisation of dietetics and its forbearer, home economics, the meaning of socially just health professional practice, and health professionals’ roles as advocates in social and structural change. Her recent work explores the experiences and meaning of cultural food security for newcomers to Canada.


  • Dietitians are poised to join and lead global movements for food, health, and social justice, but their relationships to change-making are historically and contemporarily fraught 
  • Avenues to advance justice through dietetics comprise anti-oppressive approaches to day-to-day dietetic practice, as well as structurally competent individual and collective advocacy  
  • Preparing dietitians for roles in justice movements requires that the profession addresses gaps in practitioners’ knowledge, skill, and confidence, as well as education and regulatory frameworks 

Sarah Pennell

General Manager – Business
Foodbank Australia

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Sarah started out as a journalist but since then has used her communications background to traverse a variety of areas including PR, marketing, research, strategy and governance.

For the last 11 years Sarah has fulfilled a variety of roles at Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation. Prior to Foodbank, Sarah worked in the food industry, supporting farmers in dairy and horticulture.

Topic: Sarah will talk about the role the food rescue sector plays in reducing food waste now and what the opportunities are to further reduce food waste, by redirecting edible food from landfill to people in need. There are a number of powerful initiatives underway to help deliver on Australia’s goal of halving food waste by 2030. She will discuss the despondency many feel about our ability to make a difference in terms of the environment – whereas from her perspective, the food sector is working hard – with the help of organisations such as Foodbank – on changing food systems for the better. At the same time, she believes dietitians have a role in helping individuals to understand how they can make a difference through their personal choices.  

Dr Chris Bourke 

Program Director, Indigenous Science & Engagement

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Dr Chris Bourke leads CSIRO’s new Indigenous Science and Engagement program which focuses on introducing equitable partnerships and transformational change tackling national challenges prioritised by Indigenous Australia.

Chris is a Gamillaroi man and Australia’s first Indigenous dentist. In an extensive career he has held clinical positions in the private and public sector including his own private dental practice, Aboriginal Medical Services, public hospitals, and state/territory health departments. In his recent role with the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association he led their work on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, aged care, rural health and oral health. From 2011 to 2016, Chris was a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly, with various ministerial portfolios.

Chris has postgraduate diplomas in Public Health and Clinical Dentistry (Oral Implants) and an MBA. He is an Honorary Professor at Macquarie University, Honorary Clinical Associate Professor at The University of Melbourne, Adjunct Associate Professor at Griffith University and a Fellow of the International College of Dentistry. Chris is a Board member of the Australian Dental Council and Co-chairs the ACT Reconciliation Council.

Topic: Institutional racism in healthcare

  • What is institutional racism in healthcare and how does it affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?
  • What can healthcare organisations do to reduce institutional racism?
  • How can individuals activate these changes?
  • Can these principles and strategies be applied outside healthcare?

Dr Cherie Hugo 

The Lantern Project 

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Dr Cherie Hugo is an accredited practising dietitian with over 20 years of experience consulting with her team of My Nutrition Clinic dietitians to community, healthcare centres, hospitals and aged care organisations across Australia.

Dr Hugo founded The Lantern Project in 2013, a national aged care collaboration and action-based research initiative based at Bond University, focused on improving older Australian’s quality of life through the joy of good food. In 2018, Dr Hugo completed her PhD research centred around quantifying the value of nutrition in aged care. This research and national industry engagement saw Dr Hugo as part of the Australian Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s National Standards Guidance Reference Group. The evidence-based set of principles developed out of Dr Hugo’s research is now the basis of the guidance material relating to Nutrition and Hydration, Unplanned Weight Loss and Clinical Deterioration for the nation’s Aged Care Quality Standards (launched in July 2019).  In the past 3 years Dr Hugo has translated the research into an industry-endorsed aged care food, nutrition and mealtime experience ratings tool, Epicure. Epicure offers a way for aged care homes to prioritise areas of need within the aged care food, nutrition and mealtime experience and to map this across the 8 Aged Care Quality Standards. 

Dr Hugo has written weekly health and nutrition columns for a newspaper over a 13 year period, has been the plenary speaker for many health and research conferences and events and continues to lead the conversation around the value of good food, nutrition and mealtime experience in enhancing longevity and quality of life. She was invited to present the keynote speech at the Federal Department of Health’s National Congress around Food, Nutrition and Mealtime Experience and has presented at the Aged Care Catering Summits over the past 3-4 years. In June 2020, she was named Gold Coast Woman of the Year for her contribution to helping the community age well. 


  • Action-based research through 10 years of industry collaboration
  • Translating learnings into an industry leading tool through lived experience within an aged care home
  • Results and Lessons from whole organisation roll-out over the COVID years

Glenn Mackintosh 

Weight Management Psychology 

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Glenn Mackintosh is a psychologist who is incredibly passionate about eating, physical activity, weight and body image. His mission is to spread compassionate, evidence-based, and innovative ideas to support people who struggle with these all-too-common concerns.

Glenn is the author of the best-selling Thinsanity: 7 Steps to transform your mindset and say goodbye to dieting forever, the founder of the Weight Management Psychology clinic, and the creator of the Transformation Support Community online program. Glenn’s public work has seen him create a YouTube channel and podcast, and he contributes regularly to the media.

Glenn is the Queensland representative for the Australian Psychological Society Psychology of Eating, Weight, and Body Image Interest Group. He has researched and lectured at the University of Queensland and Bond University. Glenn enjoys training other health professionals to apply psychological principles to support their clients through his popular professional workshops.

Topic: Extend Your Influence Beyond the Consulting Room!

  • The world is moving online, providing new opportunities for allied health professionals interested in extending their practice beyond traditional consulting approaches
  • Online programs, courses, and communities offer the potential to deliver impactful care to large amounts of people all over the world in a highly cost effective way
  • Learn practical steps, vital mindsets, and helpful tips to successfully create, promote, and deliver online offerings that will benefit the world (and yourself as a practitioner!)

Janeane Dart, AdvAPD

Senior Lecturer and PhD Candidate
Monash University 

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Janeane is an Advanced Accredited Practicing Dietitian with more than 25 years of experience working as a dietitian in Australia and the UK. Janeane followed her passion for student education from the clinical setting into higher education. Over the last 17 years Janine has held academic roles at Kings College London and Monash University Melbourne, where she is currently Senior Lecturer

Janeane teaches across the undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Dietetics and Nutrition Science. Her teaching areas of special interest are client centred practice, food and culture, personal developmentand humanism and professionalism. Janeane’s teaching excellence has been recognised with several University Awards and she is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Janeane has led an integrated approach to teaching and assessing professionalism in Nutrition and Dietetics. Her key research area of focus is exploring professionalism in dietetics. She cares deeply about the ‘art’ of dietetic practice.  

Topic: “It comes down to caring, doesn’t it?” Rescripting and reshaping ways we educate, embrace and nurture our profession.

Drawing on her doctoral research data, and interviews with 100 dietetics practitioners, new graduates, academics and educators across Australia and New Zealand, Janeane Dart will explore professionalism and professional dilemmas in dietetics using verbatim style performance. 

In collaboration with actors, Janeane’s presentation is designed to engage and evoke reflexivity in the audience. This verbatim performance will provide powerful insights and considerations related to ‘nurturing’ the dietetics profession.    

Odette Pearson

Associate Professor
Aboriginal Health Equity – South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

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Odette Pearson (PhD) is a Kuku Yalanji and Torres Strait Islander women, Associate Professor and co-leads the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Equity Theme of the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute.

Odette has worked in Indigenous health for 24 years with experience and post-doctoral training in Aboriginal health policy, health systems and equity.

Prior to research, Odette worked for the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Health Services in primary health care management.

Integral to Odette’s research is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community governance.

Dr Courtney Ryder

Senior Lecturer
Aboriginal academic and Discipline Lead for Injury Studies in the College of Medicine and Public Health

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Dr Courtney Ryder is an Aboriginal academic and Discipline Lead for Injury Studies in the College of Medicine and Public Health. Her research is leading new ways of working with Indigenous Data through knowledge interface methodology and Indigenous Data sovereignty to change the deficit discourse surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health statistics, particularly in injury.

Dr Ryder is recognised for her work in cultural safety and Aboriginal health education. With over a decades experience she has designed and coordinated large and complex topics, both internal and online, pertaining to Aboriginal health and social health sciences in the Master of Public Health, Doctor of Medicine, Nursing, Midwifery, Health Science and Public Health programs at Flinders. Work which has transformed student learning in this space, and is presently being used to train clinicians at Westmead Hospital.

Emerging Stream Speakers

Fiona Sutherland, APD

The Mindful Dietitian 

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Fiona is Director of The Mindful Dietitian, practising for over 20 years in the areas of eating disorders, diet culture recovery, body image and sports nutrition. Fiona is a committed weight inclusive and trauma-informed Dietitian, spending most of her working week as a supervisor for other dietitians, and facilitating online training for dietitians and health professionals.

Fiona is host of the Podcast “The Mindful Dietitian” and consults for The Australian Ballet School and other national sporting organisations. She teaches across several different dietetic courses in Melbourne specifically in the areas of counselling and weight inclusive approaches in dietetics.

Fiona is a mindfulness practitioner and yoga teacher, bringing a particular emphasis on embodiment, mindfulness and trauma-informed approaches into her work, training and life.

Dr Pennie Taylor APD PhD

Scientist – Health and Biosecurity 

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Dr Taylor is a Scientist at CSIRO – Health and Biosecurity and a practising dietitian in Adelaide SA. She has a PhD from the University of Adelaide, School of Medicine, exploring dietary factors and the integrated role of emerging health technologies for obesity, weight loss, diabetes and lifestyle management. With extensive experience working across nutrition research and in the healthcare system, she has excellent knowledge of the clinical health and wellbeing issues facing our Australian population.

Pennie also brings a sound understanding of diet, specialised food design and the translation of science into the development of community health and chronic disease programs, such as the CSIRO Impromy program, Low Carb and Gut Health. She continues to enjoy working with industry and government partners to translate science into clinical and community outcomes, with a particular interest in utilising health technology and dietary patterns to optimise self-management strategies for improved health and wellbeing across all life and health stages.

Dr Fiona Willer, AdvAPD

Proprietor of Health, Not Diets
Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology
Board Director at Dietitians Australia

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Dr Fiona Willer (AdvAPD, PhD, FHEA, MAICD) is an Australian dietitian, academic, educator, Board director and health advocate. Herlong career straddles higher education, and the non-profit and private sectors.

Dr Willer’s academic research involves health consciousness, dietary quality, and the integration of weight-neutral lifestyle approaches (including Health at Every Size®) into healthcare practice. She is also the creator of the innovative Unpacking Weight Science professional development podcast. Fiona currently serves on the board of Dietitians Australia and has previously served on the boards of HAES Australia and the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH).

Meredith Woolsey

Owner and Principal Exercise psychologist
Move to Live  

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Meredith is the owner and principal exercise physiologist at Move to Live – Exercise Physiology in Adelaide’s South.  

Originally wanting to be an astronaut, Meredith took the long way around to Exercise Physiology. Merideth realised by chance that that this career path would fulfill her deep desire to help people, her fascination with all things nerdy and her love of problem solving.  

Meredith had always practiced in a weight-neutral and HAES® (ish) manner, without really knowing it even existed. It wasn’t until her friend, a non-diet dietitian, introduced her to this direction that she really found her people.  

The Move to Live clinic is small but mighty and aims to provide a safe space. People of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities can come to explore their relationship with movement without fear of judgement. All clients are listened to with their issues taken seriously.  

Anne Schneyder

Nutrition Professionals Australia

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Anne is a Director of Nutrition Professionals Australia and has been an ardent advocate for change to improve the profile of food and nutrition in the aged care sector over the past 25 years. She has contributed to the development of manuals to guide dietitian practice and wrote the original DAA Menu Audit Tool for dietitians –a definitive guide for dietitians conducting menu audits.

Anne believes that both good food AND good nutrition contribute to optimal health and wellbeing. An integrated approach that involves the consumer as the focus together with both care and food services staff is essential in any organisation to provide a quality meal service.

Topic: Working in Aged Care- Balancing the Evidence with Practical Advice

  • What to expect when providing a dietitian service in an aged care home
  • What standards do care homes need to abide by
  • Understanding the food service system
  • Ensuring the quality of the mealtime experience is maximised
  • Communication solutions
  • Challenges to overcome and practical strategies
  • How to be heard/ advocacy role
  • What they don’t tell you!

Rhea Bergmann, APD

Dietitian and Psychotherapist 
Mind-full of Food

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Rhea is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Psychotherapist with 8 years of experience working in private practice. Rhea integrates mindfulness and compassion-based counselling therapies into a nutrition counselling setting. She is a Credentialed Eating Disorder Clinician (CEDC) and a verified HAES® provider.

Rhea’s approach is weight inclusive, assisting people to engage in self-care practices regardless of their body weight, shape or size, with a focus on improving their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Rhea primarily works with individuals with eating disorder  diagnoses including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, along with atypical and subclinical disordered eating presentations.

Topic: EmergED – Thinking about working in the Eating Disorder field? Considerations for early career work with ED’s.

  • Assessing your “fit” for working in the Eating Disorder field – Qualities, attributes & skills
  • Credentialling – what it is & how to work towards it
  • The importance of supervision & support & where to find it

Natalie Mullins, APD

Founder and Lead Dietitian 
Pod Dietetics

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Natalie is an Accredited Practising Dietitian based in Adelaide, South Australia. She is the founder and Lead Dietitian of Pod Dietetics. Pod Dietetics isa HAES aligned business providing dietetics services to people of all ages, with a focus on supporting people with a disability or a chronic health condition.

Prior to founding Pod, Natalie worked in SA Health across multiple clinical areas including acute, sub-acute, outpatient and ambulatory services. She has specific experience and expertise in physical and neurological rehabilitation. Natalie is passionate about providing high quality clinical care that is tailored to the individual, integrating their lived experience with evidence-based guidelines for medical nutrition therapy.

Topic: Starting a Business – what, why and how.

  • My business story – taking a leap of faith from being employed in a permanent full time government role, to setting up a business and building a team
  • Logistics – what are the essential steps to business set up?
  • People – who do you need to help you succeed?
  • Product – what are you offering and how will you deliver it? 
  • Next Steps – resources to help you move forward from today

Nick Wray APD

Co-developer 360ME Nutrition

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Nick is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) of 25 years’ experience with bariatric and gastroenterology nutrition forming a substantial amount of his practice. Nick worked for 12 years at the Flinders Medical Centre (FMC) in South Australia as a gastroenterology and ICU dietitian whilst working part-time in his private practice before committing full time to private practice 10 years ago.

Nick’s interest in bariatric nutrition started at FMC and continued to private practice when the Adelaide Bariatric Centre formed in 2005. Nick cares for the patients of Assoc Prof Lilian Kow and Dr Jacob Chisolm and is an integral part of the team being involved in development of the pre- and post-surgical nutrition pathways. Nick has presented in Japan and China and at local ANZMOSS conferences. Over the past 5 years Nick has been developing 360ME Nutrition with co-Director Dr Pennie Taylor, to provide an extensive Dietetic private practice service in South Australia.

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