Spotlight on: Kayla Thomas, RD
Diabetes Community Consultant, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq
Kayla is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics from Acadia University.
Prior to returning to her home province of Nova Scotia, Kayla worked in northern Manitoba as part of a regional diabetes program. Kayla works as the Diabetes Community Consultant with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, supporting the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative.
What is your favorite place to find new recipes?
I borrow cookbooks from my local library each week. Cookbooks are often themed so it’s a fun way to try new techniques or cuisines. Right now I’m learning to make sourdough bread. If I go back to the book again and again I’ll usually go purchase it. Online, my favourite recipe source is Healthy Aperture. It has beautiful visuals, and you can search by category. Plus it’s curated by Registered Dietitians!
Finish the sentence: I feel happiest when…
I feel happiest when I am sitting around my dinner table with family and friends. I love cooking and bringing people together over food. There is something sacred about breaking bread with the people you love!
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
I think the biggest challenge of my career was getting my first job. As I was finishing my internship the reality of the job market quickly dawned on me. Seeing 3-5 years experience required on every job posting can be very intimidating for new grads. I left my home province to work in northern Manitoba as a Diabetes Educator. It was a great couple of years and fantastic work experience, but I knew it was not where I wanted to be long term. Sadly my experience is not unique, Nova Scotia is losing so many talented new professionals each year. That is why I am so passionate about advocacy for our profession. If value is seen, new positions can be created. For employers – take a chance on a new Dietitian. They have a lot to prove as they start their career and will likely bring new knowledge, ideas and energy to your organization.!
What have you learned the most from your current job?
I have an amazing job that has introduced me to amazing people! In my current role as Diabetes Community Consultant for The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, I have witnessed the strength and resiliency of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. As health professionals, it is our responsibility to implement the report’s recommendation into our practice. As Canada enters a time of reconciliation I hope space is made for discussion of health disparities and food insecurity in Aboriginal communities.