Alumni Member

Alison McLaughlin

When did you graduate from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health?

I completed a Master of Public Health, Community Nutrition, in 2012.

How did you become interested in your field of public health? What led you to DLSPH?

After completing my Dietetic Internship, I realized my interest had grown for learning about the strategy behindi mplementing nutrition programs to the public, rather than working on an individual level. When I saw the description of the MPH specializing in community nutrition at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, I knew I had to complete the program. I knew the program would help me learn an entirely new set of skills surrounding the development, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition programs on a population level.

In what ways has your DLSPH experience had an impact on your career?

I like to get things done fast, so I can check them off my list, but this isn’t the best way to create sustainable, meaningful and creative public health programs. My time at the School helped me to develop a strategic thought process behind an effective nutrition program. Developing such programs take time management skills, teamwork, dedication and a lot of patience.

Was there a specific faculty member or course that was particularly influential?

I can’t thank Ann Fox or Melanie Morris for being more than program organizers and professors. These women become my career and life mentors. Both of them encouraged me to analyze information on a deeper level and to think thoroughly through situations/programs before creating change. These lessons not only applied to my coursework and career, but also to my personal life.

What have you been doing since leaving DLSPH?

After I left the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, I moved to Singapore and worked for the Health Promotion Board (similar to Health Canada). I was part of a team who developed new national dietary guidelines for Singaporeans, and created an easy-to-understand visual representation of a healthy diet: My Healthy Plate.

I started my own corporate wellness company in Dubai called Fitness O2. I currently work with International companies such as Pepsico, Aramex, Pfizer, and Dubai Police to make employees happier and healthier at work. My company provides nutrition education, workshops, wellness events and consultations for creating a healthier work environment.

At the end of 2014, I am launching a nutrition app, specific for the Arab population. My app will have nutrition education, meal plans and health tips.

What advice would you give to younger alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?

Be open to any opportunities. Put aside any previous judgments or barriers you have about your capabilities or towards a job. You will learn and grow throughout your career, but if aren’t open to new opportunities or challenges, you may never release your full potential. Beyond on all this, don’t be afraid to explore. Don’t stay in a position where you aren’t going to challenge yourself every single day. My cardinal rule: If you aren’t happy with what you’re doing, something needs to change.

What would you say to a prospective student who is considering DLSPH?

This program will give you the skills needed to make a difference in the health of a population. That in itself is enough to join the incredible DLSPH community.