Get to know our staff: Professor Judi Porter

Our latest blog is from Prof Judi Porter. Judi has recently commenced as Discipline Lead in Dietetics at Deakin. She has had a varied career working for many years as a clinical dietitian and dietetics manager, prior to transitioning into academic roles.

She has multiple research interests including food services across a range of settings, and clinical nutrition across ageing.  Her most significant study in recent years emerged from the development of a large doubly labelled water (DLW) database from adults aged 65 years and over.  DLW is recognised as the gold standard in determining energy requirements. Judi led an international consortium comparing predictive energy equations against DLW measures. Rather than the Schofield, equation which has traditionally been used estimate energy needs of older adults, the research recommended that the Ikeda, Mifflin or Livingston equations should instead be used

Judi has also worked with collaborators in Queensland and New South Wales to develop the Dietetic research priorities for Australia for the period 2020-2030, which have recently been published.  It is anticipated that these priorities will direct research within dietetics but also be utilised by funding bodies in future grant rounds.

1. What sparked your interest in food and nutrition?

My interest in food/nutrition as a career was sparked in high school home economics (now food technology). I had amazing teachers and loved the food science theory and practical classes. I did my Year 10 work experience in my school home economics department, and from then I was pretty much set!

2. Where was your first job?

My first job as a dietitian was at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane.  This is a tertiary cardiac hospital but with many other clinical specialties.  In this locum position I delivered dietetic care to patients across 12 acute wards and 6 nursing home wards. It was a massive case load, unthinkable in acute hospitals today. What great learning opportunities I had in this role.

3. What prompted you to be an academic?

A career in academia was not on my radar even 10 years ago, so you never do know where a career in dietetics may take you. I was always immersed in my Dietetics Manager roles, and didn’t expect that I would ever end up in an academic role. However, I was asked to help out the Monash dietetic team in redeveloping their foodservice unit in 2013, and never left. I love the challenges of working in the university system, and, like many others, I am always trying to find the right balance of teaching and research.

4. What are you doing now in your role?

The Discipline Lead for Dietetics is an exciting new opportunity for me. I work with the dietetic team to deliver the highest quality teaching and research in dietetics. Also we collaborate across the school, university and beyond to contribute to inter-professional research in nutrition and health. I am looking forward to forging new collaborations, but also to continue to collaborate with my existing research groups.

5. What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition field?

The NHMRC have just announced a review of the 2013 Australian dietary guidelines.  Let’s hope that the review of these guidelines, and their implementation, is the next big step towards better nutrition for all Australians.

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We will have continued to develop the Master of Dietetics to deliver the best graduates for the ever changing workforce, and, international dietetic research collaborations will be established involving the Deakin team.

Just for fun…

What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Just say yes”! – it is the best and worst advice, as it has led me to some wonderful opportunities. However I have learnt to also become good at saying “no”, as there are only so many hours in a day.

What’s your favourite food/drink?

Tea (I do drink a lot of it)!

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?

I spent 6 years working as a dietitian in the NHS, so I gave my passport a very good workout during this time. I particularly love long distance walking trails – walking Coast to Coast in the north of England, and traversing the Dolomites were some of my favourites.

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