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Elsie Widdowson CH CBE was a pioneer of dietetics and, along with Robert McCance, carried out research for around 60 years. They uncovered many aspects of understanding in human nutrition throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. They are also well known for undertaking much of the experimentation on themselves, including starvation diets. Their work was of vital importance during the Second World War and led to the publication of The Chemical Composition of Foods in 1940.

The BDA launched an annual memorial lecture in 2001 to honour her legacy. Each year the Board of Directors invites a senior member of the dietetic profession, who is deemed to be at the pinnacle of their career, to deliver the lecture on a topic of their choice. The lectures are always popular and attract considerable interest within the profession.

The Elsie Widdowson Memorial Lecture is organised and supported by the BDA General and Education Trust Fund. Each year since 2001, one senior member of the profession, at the pinnacle of their career, is invited to deliver the lecture on a topic of their choice.

Susan Price - Diversity and inclusion in Dietetics – where we are and where we need to be

The 2021 lecture 'Diversity and inclusion in Dietetics – where we are and where we need to be' was delivered by Susan Price, Deputy Director (Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing, Social Cohesion and Cultural Development) and Critical Care Dietitian at QE Hospital, Birmingham.

Susan discussed why we need to look at equality, diversity and inclusion in the dietetic workforce and why they cannot just be words on a page, but values that we truly live and demonstrate in all parts of our lives.

Susan addressed how we must be more inclusive now to ensure our future dietetic workforce is fit for purpose and that all feel they can join. She also got us to thinking about our own bias and how we can change our behaviours to be a true ally to others.

Dietetics and the BDA are moving into the future. Be part of it - watch back now and join the conversation on social media with #DiversifyDietetics.

Watch the lecture back

 

Priya Tew - The Dietitian: from healthcare professional to influencer

Priya spoke about why as dietitians we also need to think about our role as influencers. With the current climate of social media being the place people go to to get their health information, our role has to include being present and loud on those platforms. This brings with it whole new challenges such as advertising, working with food brands, trolling and where our boundaries lie. With our profession being small and notoriously misunderstood it is time to shine, stick our heads out and show off our specialism. 

Priya talked about her journey in social media and media work, the highs and lows, sharing top tips on how you can get into these areas and exploring the guidance you need to be aware of when you do. As someone who is passionate about the profession and our transparency she talked us through why you need to be on social media and how to start.

Dietitians are an amazing breed but we need to move with the times and follow in the steps of Elsie Widdowson herself, let's be radical.

 

Dr Angela Madden - Challenging dietetics: be curious, be critical and be kind

Dr Madden's lecture examined areas of dietetics that have changed direction as a result of practice, or where once standard approaches have been challenged by emerging evidence and subsequently revised. 

Inspired by Professor Elsie Widdowson’s major contribution to generating and applying scientific evidence, the lecture drew on Dr Madden’s clinical and research expertise using examples from gastroenterology and hepatology. She considered how evidence has changed past and current practice and how dietitians initiate, engage in and lead these developments.

Looking to the future, Dr Madden considered other potential areas of practice, calling on dietitians to continually be curious and critical about their practice and, where evidence suggests it, to challenge the status quo.

Professor Kevin Whelan - Modifying the microbiome in gut health and disease: research as the foundation of dietetic practice

Professor Whelan's lecture discussed the gastrointestinal microbiome, a complex ecosystem of trillions of bacteria. He considered how our understanding of its role in health and disease is rapidly expanding as a results of molecular microbiological techniques that can accurately characterise its composition and diversity as well as 'omics' technologies that measure its metabolic activity.

Professor Whelan provided an insight into the exciting research currently underway in the field, including studies and controlled trials of microbiome-modifying interventions and a wide range of disorders. He even shared some exclusive results - which can often be surprising!

 

Previous Lectures

2021

Susan Price - Diversity and inclusion in Dietetics – where we are and where we need to be

2020

Priya Tew - The Dietitian: from healthcare professional to influencer

2019

Dr Angela Madden - Challenging dietetics: be curious, be critical and be kind

2018

Professor Kevin Whelan - Modifying the microbiome in gut health and disease: research as the foundation of dietetic practice

2017

Joyce Thompson - Realism in nutrition and dietetics

2016

Dr Clare Shaw - Dietetics and Oncology: A Brief History of Time

2015

Linda Hindle - Achieving our potential

2014

Dr Miranda Lomer - From food additives to FODMAPs:
a dietetic journey through gastroenterology

2013

Wendy Martinson OBE - Science into practice - What do Olympians really eat?

2012

Judyth Jenkins MBE - C.H.I.P.S are good for you

2011

Azmina Govindji - Use your influence to make an impact: could this be the era of the dietitian?

2010

Rosemary Richardson – Modernisation of the NHS – will Dietitians become an endangered or protected species?

2009

Diane Talbot – Nannying or Nuturing? Policies aimed at Changing Dietary Behaviour

2008

Jane Thomas – The Challenge for Change

2007

Gary Frost – Dietary Carbohydrates from Cells to Man

2006

Patricia Judd – What's the Evidence – Practice, Advertising and the Popular Nutritionist

2005

Anne de Looy – Are we ready for the challenges

2004 Sheila Bingham – What do people eat? Adventures in Nutritional Epidemiology
2003 Annie Anderson
2002 Margaret Lawson
2001 Susan Jebb