Spotlight on: James McGrath, P.Dt, CDE
Public Health Nutritionist
James is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator who has worked in a variety of positions and settings since entering the profession of dietetics. He graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in ‘98 with a bachelor of science majoring in dietetics, and completed his dietetic internship with the Regina Health District. After working in a number of acute and long term care facilities in Nova Scotia he moved to Moose Factory Island on the James Bay coast of Northern Ontario to work with the Weeneebayko Diabetes Health program. James has also worked as a community nutritionist with a First Nation tribal council in Nova Scotia; the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq.
In his current position, James is employed as regional nutritionist with First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, Health Canada (Atlantic Region). In this capacity, he is working with First Nation and Inuit communities throughout the Atlantic region to support and facilitate the delivery of public health nutrition programs and services with a focus on prevention/management of chronic disease, food insecurity, childhood and maternal health.
Who or what inspired you to become a dietitian?
I've always had an interest in food. I grew up in Newfoundland where food was and continues to be a major part of the heritage and culture of many Newfoundlanders. Whether it was jiggs dinner for Sunday lunch, attending a local garden party, or heading up to the pond for an afternoon of trouting, food in the form of family meals and community celebrations was a constant. When I turned 16, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. At that point, my life changed and my own personal involvement with food increased dramatically. I connected with several dietitians during my initial years of being diagnosed. The positive interactions with them and other members of my diabetes team pointed me in the direction of dietetics and nutrition. It's been a great career and I look forward to the future.
What one food is always in your fridge/pantry/freezer?
That’s an easy one, Milk! With 3 growing young kids, we cannot keep milk in the house. Milk is the beverage of choice in our house. Not only is it a nutrition powerhouse on its own, but many of our favorite family recipes call for milk.
Who is your strongest supporter?
I would definitely say my wife (Janice). My work includes travel throughout the 4 Atlantic provinces. When I'm away, the workload at home increases substantially. My kids are 11, 13, and 15 which means drives to friends’ houses, afterschool activities, hockey practice, dance classes, etc.
What has been your proudest moment in your career?
There have been lots of moments with individual clients and other professionals that were great moments. A number of years ago, I was a board member with the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board (CDECB). We were tasked with developing an alternative method for certification maintenance for Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE's) across Canada. A multidisciplinary group of diabetes educators from across Canada developed the Credit Portfolio option for CDE certification maintenance. This project was considerably large with many challenges. In the end, a group of dedicated and passionate diabetes educators from various disciplines created a new method for certification maintenance for CDE’s across Canada.