Our People in Profile: From newborns to seniors, South Shore clinical dietitian helps clients’ achieve health goals at any age

Christina Palao, clinican dietitian on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

As a clinical dietitian in rural Nova Scotia, Christina Palao’s areas of practice expands far beyond her work at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg.

Palao offers dietetics and lactation services as an international board certified lactation consultant across the region in a variety of ways.

She provides inpatient support at Fishermen’s Memorial, outpatient counselling and diabetes education with the region’s local Diabetes Education Centre. 

She is also part of the Seniors’ Community Health Team, offering home visits and community outreach to seniors on the South Shore. 

Finally, she regularly helps support breastfeeding families meet their feeding goals to optimize the entire family’s health. 

“I have to check my schedule each morning because every day is different,” said Palao.

In the course of a day, Palao can be found travelling between communities and the hospital addressing different needs. 

“Based on my clients, I could be checking in with a senior or going to visit a new mom about her breastfeeding goals.” 

The busy nature of her work is made easier by relying on the support of her peers. With their help, she is able to meet and care for her clients in a timely way.

“I am so fortunate in my job because I get to collaborate with amazing health care providers. They teach me so much,” she boasts about her colleagues and collaborators. 

Palao is grateful to take part in the development and support of the South Shore Collaborative Breastfeeding Network. 

This initiative acts as a contact for all mothers and health care professionals to access feeding questions and concerns. 

This is one of the ways Palao is able to access other health care providers’ expertise, listing “Public health, continuing care, nurse practitioners, pharmacy, doctors… who am I missing? Collaborating with these professionals helps me provide the best patient care possible.” 

At the end of the day, Palao loves seeing people achieve their physical and emotional health goals. 

No matter her client, she believes in the word “conviviality,” which means feasting and drinking in good company. This is what “more than food” means to her, “It’s a feeling and a privilege to share with others.”