New Faculty Profile: Anna Brisco, Lecturer in Dietetics
Anna Brisco (they/them) has worked in the food system right across Canada, from being a culinary chef in Halifax to a food bank policy dietitian in Vancouver.
They bring this experience to UBC’s new Master of Nutrition and Dietetics (MND) professional program, which launches this fall, as a Lecturer and Student Advisor.
“I am so excited to build on the successes of the undergraduate Dietetics program, and to work with the wonderful team of staff and faculty to bring this new program to life.”
Brisco has delivered food literacy and nutrition education to a wide variety of people. At BC Dairy, they developed and presented nutrition programs for K-12 educators and health professionals, and they have also created nutrition resources for grocery store customers and for those living and working in care homes.
“For me, it’s always been about balancing nutrition with the social and cultural aspects of food and eating,” says Brisco. “People need to have positive and fun experiences with food, because healthy eating is so much more than just what we eat.”
At UBC, they have been teaching in the Dietetics program since 2017 as an Adjunct Professor. Most recently, they taught Professional Dietetics Practice II online in 2021, and in a blended format this term.
Brisco just completed a Master of Education at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, where they learned how to create transformative learning experiences in diverse subject areas.
“Learning paradigms are shifting along with worldviews – society is in transition as institutions and individuals come to grips with our own histories of colonization, complicity, and ignoring social inequities. Education has the potential to create a better world, and it starts with shifting the learning space and relations to reflect the values we want to see in healthcare settings and in society at large.”
Brisco only found out about the dietetics profession 10 years ago. They were working in Halifax as a cook at a fine dining restaurant, with professional culinary training and a biology degree under their belt. However, something was missing.
Brisco decided to volunteer at a community health clinic. While helping a local dietitian plan intergenerational community dinners, and lunch menus for people managing health issues, they learned about UBC’s Dietetics program.
“I learned about this program that combines food, science, and working with people – all the parts of life that I loved! Dietetics, especially at UBC, looks at the interaction of these through a systems lens; I knew it would be perfect for me.”
Brisco was successful in applying for the Dietetics program, and graduated in 2016 from the Food, Nutrition and Health program (Dietetics major).
For fun, Brisco loves to cook with their partner (pad thai and Indonesian dishes are their current family favourites), and go bird watching. They are also preparing their spring garden.
“Gardening gives you such a deep appreciation of food, as you learn the time and attention it really takes to grow an onion or a carrot. Trying to grow food has definitely increased my humility and gratitude, because it’s really the environment – the earth – that we are all dependent on for nourishment.”