Supporting public health nutrition for all the goal of new professor
Leslie Redmond joined the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences as Assistant Professor in Food, Culture and Health on July 1, 2022. Leslie pursued her studies in the United States, and comes to us from the University of Alaska where she was an assistant professor in dietetics and nutrition. Leslie shared how a summer internship made her realize that she wanted to work directly with minoritized communities to help overcome barriers to good health and nutrition.
Tell us about yourself
I have a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from Clemson University in South Carolina and completed a dietetic internship at the University of Alaska Anchorage. After becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist, I continued my studies at James Madison University in Virginia where I earned a Master of Science in exercise physiology and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore where I received a PhD in nutrition. I worked as Nutrition Communications Specialist for the California Strawberry Commission before returning to the University of Alaska as an assistant professor in dietetics and nutrition. My research is focused on public health nutrition, specifically the prevention of chronic disease in minoritized populations through culturally-appropriate and community-centered interventions, and I am excited to continue this work here at the University of Manitoba.
Why did you get into this area of study?
As an undergraduate student, I completed a summer internship in rural Alaska that set the trajectory for my entire career. Before the internship, I just knew that I liked food and was interested in how nutrition could impact health. After the internship, I knew that I wanted to work directly with minoritized communities to help overcome barriers to good health and nutrition. I also describe my PhD program as where “the rubber met the road” – in other words, it was where everything came together and I realized how much potential there is for public health nutrition to make an impact at the population level.
What are you seeking to explore with your research?
I’m interested in how we can create environments that support health for all people, and I have two main directions for my research. First, I want to explore environmental factors that contribute to chronic disease in Indigenous populations and understand how we can promote nutrition, physical activity, traditional knowledge, and cultural strengths for prevention. Second, I want to investigate the prevalence of food insecurity among students at UM and develop strategies for increasing food availability while considering the unique experiences of the culturally diverse student population.
What appeals to you about being a teacher?
I will be teaching courses related to food culture and nutrition across the lifespan. Nutrition is a subject that impacts everyone no matter what your background, culture, life experience, etc. If you eat food, then nutrition affects you! I love working with students and encouraging them to find their own personal connection with the material even if they end up doing something entirely different in their careers. If I can inspire them to find the same passion for the subject that I have along the way, even better!
And what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m new to Winnipeg, so I like to get out and explore the city with my husband in my spare time. I love being outside, and while I miss the midnight sun of Alaska, I do appreciate being able to enjoy the outdoors without having to worry about bear and moose encounters. I also keep busy with CrossFit, soccer, reading, and baking.