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Krysten Blackford

Krysten Blackford: Health Promotion Officer, Office-based Physical Activity & Nutrition (OPAN) Project, WA Centre for Health Promotion Research

I’ve always been interested in nutrition and health. The nutrition/health promotion double degree has given me background knowledge and experience with a broad range of health issues including alcohol, tobacco, mental health, Aboriginal health, rural and remote health, sexual health and of course nutrition. I found every aspect of my course extremely interesting because of this diversity. I am now a qualified Nutritionist and Health Promotion Officer which opens a lot of doors in terms of future employment opportunities.

I chose Curtin University has it an excellent reputation for nutrition and also a number of other courses so I had no hesitation in choosing Curtin.

During my course I undertook a range of work experience and volunteer projects. My previous positions include the following: Group Guide for the Physical Activity & Nutrition for Seniors (PANS) project; Nutrition Promotion Officer at Foodbank; Practicum student at the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control; and Research Assistant at the WA Centre for Health Promotion Research.

Currently I am employed as a health promotion officer working on the Office-based Physical Activity & Nutrition (OPAN) project at the WA Centre for Health Promotion Research, in collaboration with the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control and the Cancer Council WA. I was awarded the Australian Health Promotion Association 2012 Graduate Scholarship for this project, which involves identifying barriers and facilitators to workplace health promotion in office-based workplaces in Perth, WA. The findings from this research will be used to draft a pilot project proposal for the Cancer Council WA to implement in workplaces in 2013.

I am also currently working as Project Officer for the Raising Awareness of Drug and Alcohol Risk (RADAR) project with the Willetton and District Local Drug Action Group. This project aims to raise awareness and knowledge of parents about alcohol use, and their responsibility to be suitable role models for their children. It does so by using the media as a tool to communicate health promotion messages.

I have been very persistent and always on the lookout for opportunities that will assist my personal and professional development. The best advice I can offer future students in the double degree or either of the single degrees is to get involved in many activities outside of the classroom. These activities can include volunteering for agencies; joining a student club such as the Health Promotion Student Association and the Nutrition and Dietetics Student Association; and becoming a student member of professional organisations such as the Australian Health Promotion Association, Nutrition Australia and the Dietitians Association of Australia. Activities such as these provide invaluable networking and professional development opportunities that you may otherwise miss out on. You will also be able to put theories learned in the classroom into practice!