09 Oct 2020

Ella Terblanche RD, chair of the BDA’s Critical Care Specialist Group and Principal Dietitian for Critical Care at St George’s Hospital, London, has been made an MBE for her services to dietetics and in particular the response to COVID-19.

Ella said “This is a huge honour and such a surprise. I believe this award should also be viewed as recognition of all the dietitians, particularly those in critical care, who worked so hard to support the NHS and patients during the pandemic. Nutrition is such a vital part of a person’s treatment and recovery from coronavirus, and I’m hugely proud of the work all dietitians have done over the past six months to save lives and help get people back on their feet.”

Aside from her roles in the NHS and with the BDA, Ella has also been a leader in critical care dietetics, co-authoring key national guidance and standards and representing dietetics within the Intensive Care Society.

The BDA is also delighted that our President, Dr Giles Yeo, has also received an MBE for services to Research, Science Communication and Engagement. Dr Yeo is a geneticist and Principal Research Associate at the Metabolic Research Laboratories and MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit at Cambridge University.

His research particularly focuses on the study of brain control of body-weight, and he is a champion for improving understanding of the complexities of obesity. Alongside his research and teaching roles, Dr Yeo is also a well-known from TV and from his work as an author, helping to explain to the public the complex relationships between genetics, appetite and obesity.

Giles said “I can assure you that this was entirely unexpected. Because it was in times of COVID, the notification, instead of being on expensive official stationery, came via email, and I initially thought it was a phishing scam! Anyway, it wasn’t, and I’m deeply honoured to be recognised for my contributions to communicating and engagement in research. I am grateful to be working at an Institution which has allowed me to breathe and to follow my passion.”

BDA Chief Executive Andy Burman said; “Both of these awards are richly deserved, and I’m delighted for both Ella and Giles. Ella’s work as Chair of the Critical Care Specialist Group during the COVID-19 pandemic has been incredible. The group marshalled its vast expertise in record time to produce a wide range of vital guidance and tools for dietitians to help prepare them to support critical ill COVID patients. Ella helped steer all this while actually dealing with the pandemic on the ground herself.

“We are very proud to have Giles as our President. On our behalf he has already helped bring attention to key issues such as food insecurity, and he continues to do important work as a science communicator, such as challenging the myth that obesity is a choice.”

  • The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,500 members.
  • Dietitians are highly qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They are statutorily regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside other Allied Health Professions.
  • Dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government and global industry to local communities and individuals.