8 Dec 2017 An Advocator of the Dietetics Profession
Nutrition and Dietetics changed Georgen Thye’s life, helping him lose 30kg and keeping it off. He had also witnessed countless patients suffering from chronic diseases mostly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle in the first four years of his career working in a hospital as a clinical dietitian. This has made him realise that there is a need to change his focus from sick-care to prevention and health promotion.
Georgen elaborated on how he did this, “With my interest in cooking and knowledge sharing, I’ve started a Facebook page in 2016: “Georgen Cooking”. This page is aimed at sharing ideas and knowledge to make healthy cooking and eating fun and easy. I started developing healthy recipes, made them into videos and shared it on Georgen Cooking. The page has been receiving positive feedback, which motivates me to share even more nutrition knowledge in a friendlier manner via the digital platform and reach more people.”
Georgen has come a long way from someone who did not know what dietetics was until his first visit to an International Medical University (IMU) Open Day, He learned then that dietetics is about treating and preventing illnesses with food and nutrition. It immediately captured his interest, because food has always been one of his passions; and the fact that he can help improve people’s lives through food is just perfect. He then decided to pursue a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the IMU in 2008, graduating with the degree four years later.
Since then, Georgen has become very passionate about the profession. “Dietetics, the science of how food and nutrition affect human health is so exciting because everybody eats food, so it’s relevant to everyone and we can really make a difference in people’s lives. The dietetics profession in Malaysia has come a long way and is still growing and evolving faster than ever before. There are so many different career paths that a dietetics graduate can take at this point in time. My four years in IMU and the invaluable opportunity of working together and learning from some of the key leaders in the profession, like Prof Winnie Chee, current President of Malaysian Dietitians’ Association (MDA) and Mary Easaw, Chief Dietitian of National Heart Institute have really helped to grow my interest into the passion for dietetics. It is also why I am now one of the council members of MDA – a way to serve and contribute back towards the betterment of the profession.”
Georgen Thye demonstrated leadership and also contributed towards his professional body as well as community by being the council member for Malaysian Dietitians’ Association (MDA) for two terms and leading the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that looks into planning and implementing CPDs for all dietitians in Malaysia. He has produced videos on advocating healthy eating to the public out of his own initiative. To-date, a total of 27 videos have been produced with 233,827 views as of September 2017.
He has also made numerous appearances on local TV programmes to advocate healthy eating. He’s a regular on the NTV7 programme call Living Delight show. He has also conducted public talks, trainings for other healthcare profession, culinary and cooking demonstrations for patients, school children, and the wider community.
He is currently a dietitian in Holmusk, a digital health company that uses technology to enhance data-enabled, human-driven healthcare and improve the lives of people with chronic diseases. Not to mention that he has also won numerous awards at his previous workplace. Juniors and colleagues in the field of dietetics are looking up to him as a role model.
Advice to future dietitians
|To Keep an Open Mind|
|With so many different career possibilities now as a dietitian, it’s good to know what you want or doesn’t want at the very beginning. However, as a student, it’s important to always keep an open mind, this is because human is dynamic and you may find your interest change over time. Always give your 100% when it comes to learning and look for as many learning and observational opportunities as possible because these are experiences that most dietitians do not get after they’ve started working.|
|Be a Smart Networker|
|It’s never too early to network! Networking is extremely crucial in the dietetics profession. The connections you made are likely going to be precious down the road as your career progresses. Start by volunteering yourself, talking to your seniors, making friends from other courses, because you’ll never know where this interaction opportunity will take you to.|
|Have a Good Attitude|
|Having a good attitude is at the top of the list, it can make a whole world of difference towards achieving your greatest potential in life. It’s as simple as being punctual, saying thank you to show appreciation, putting people first and having good manners.|
Georgen Thye received the Young Alumnus Award – Professional Leadership at the IMU Alumni Homecoming 2017. For this, he received a trophy, a certificate and RM5,000 cash prize. Out of the RM5,000, four thousand Ringgit Malaysia will be donated to the NGO of his choice. Georgen nominated PT Foundation to receive donation from the prize. He chose this NGO due to his belief that stigma and discrimination have made people vulnerable to HIV and caused the key affected populations especially kids and women to have limited access to HIV testing, treatment, and other HIV services. He strongly believes in what PT foundation is doing to help improve this.
PT Foundation is committed to creating a Malaysia that is free of HIV and AIDS. It is the leading community-based non-profit organization in Malaysia working with key affected populations on HIV and AIDS, gender identity and sexual health. PT Foundation offers comprehensive awareness, prevention, support and care, and advocacy services, working with key affected populations such as sex workers, transgender community, gay men, and people using drugs and people living with HIV. Children of the key affected populations are also included in their services.
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