We find out a bit more about Annette Rugyendo, a registered dietitian who works in Food Service within a clinical setting. Annette was super helpful when I initially tweeted about this campaign, and I’ve had a lot of fun chatting with her over the last few weeks. I’m definitely looking forward to keeping in contact with her!
Annette Rugyendo, RD
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your current role?
My name is Annette, I was born in Uganda, but have lived most of my life in the U.K. I am a mommy to two children, an 18 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. And I am fortunate enough to have a lovely partner who is my biggest cheerleader and friend. I am a Food Service Dietitian and my niche is healthcare catering which includes dietetics, catering contracts, food safety, allergen management, patient dining, staff health and wellbeing, retail catering and everything in between!
When did you first know you wanted to pursue nutrition and dietetics?
Dietetics is my second degree. I decided to change careers after my daughter was born as it seemed a good time to follow my passion. I have always been fascinated by the relationship between food, mood, health and sickness, especially because I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 13 years old.
What’s your favourite meal?
I love rice. A meal isn’t a meal without rice. Plain rice, rice and peas (red kidney beans), rice and gungo, jollof rice, any rice, with a side of fried plantain! Boom!
What are your thoughts on diversity in N&D?
We are a long way from becoming fully integrated. In my personal experience I either find myself a group where we are all black dietitians or on a group where I am the only black dietitian. But I also find myself the only black person at many of my work/career related meetings. I can only describe it as a heavy weight. I do feel that U.K. Dietetics is making moves to address this but it’s a big ship to turn around, I imagine it will take a very long time.
Black or Blue ink pens?
Black! Lol, you cannot train in the NHS and write in a blue pen! You couldn’t find one even if you wanted to!
If you could summarise your career as a nutrition professional in 3 words, what would they be?
Varied, Challenging, Satisfying.
What advice would you give to black youth considering nutrition & dietetics as a career?
Do it! You are the next generation, your voice is loud and proud and powerful and you will be heard. Your career will be what you make it. There are many opportunities both clinically and working industry and public health. We are at an exciting time in terms of nutrition and dietetics research and evidence based practice so come make your mark. You already know how to fight for what you want, your resilience will carry you through.