Who We Are
Nutrition Connections, formerly the Nutrition Resource Centre, is a centre for nutrition knowledge and collaboration. We help health professionals, community organizations, educators, researchers, and others working in food and nutrition to build capacity, connect, and share information.
Nutrition Connections remains a key program of the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) which is recognized as a charitable, non-profit organization by Revenue Canada. This allows us to:
- Engage in revenue generating activities that support the mission of OPHA; and
- Issue tax receipts for charitable donations to OPHA.
A primary focus of our work at Nutrition Connections is food literacy, which can be defined as:
- knowing about food and nutrition;
- having food skills;
- feeling confident when choosing, preparing, and eating food;
- making healthier food decisions most of the time;
- understanding how the food system, food environment, living situations, and culture and traditions impact food decisions; and
- recognizing that each of these components are interconnected.
To find out more go to www.foodliteracy.ca.
With our partner, The Helderleigh Foundation, we are Accelerating Knowledge and Advancing Practice by giving our 6,000+ stakeholders access to the latest nutrition research, resources, interventions and education to close the gap between our knowledge in nutrition and what takes place in practice.
Nutrition Connections (NC) is a centre for nutrition knowledge and collaboration. Formerly known as the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC), we have operated under the Ontario Public Health Association since 1999. The NRC was founded as one of several health promotion resource centres funded by the Government of Ontario. Originally known as the Nutrition Resource Centre (NRC), our original mandate was to support the implementation of four Ontario-wide healthy eating and nutrition programs: Colour It Up, Community Food Advisor, Eat Smart!, and NutriSTEP. While we no longer provide direct support for these programs, many of the program resources are available in the The Navigator.
In 2013, we assumed a new mandate to focus on strengthening the capacity of health intermediaries involved in healthy eating and nutrition across the health continuum. Among many other projects and initiatives, NRC was one of the healthy kids resource centres which supported the Healthy Kids Community Challenge from 2015 – 2018. This was a cross-government initiative to promote children’s health in Ontario through physical activity and healthy eating.
When government funding for the health promotion resource centres was discontinued, the NRC rebranded itself as Nutrition Connections in 2019. With a new focus on food literacy, we have now been able to expand the scope of our work beyond Ontario, as well as launching several exciting new services.
The Nutrition Connections team includes registered dietitians, consultants and coordinators who work together to meet the needs of health promotion professionals striving to accelerate knowledge and advance practice in nutrition.
Karen Gough, Program Manager
Karen is a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of experience in several sectors within the field of dietetics. She has significant experience managing people, programs and services, and has been instrumental in developing and implementing Nutrition Connections’ strategic mandate to strengthen the capacity of health promotion professionals throughout Ontario. Her expertise is in program redesign, policy development, stakeholder engagement and support for knowledge exchange, transfer and translation.
Lynn Roblin, Senior Policy Consultant
Lynn Roblin is a Registered Dietitian whose expertise includes health promotion and food literacy. Her focus is on capacity building and knowledge exchange related to healthy eating and nutrition policies and programs at the local and provincial level. Lynn has a distinguished career in nutrition within Ontario and Canada. Lynn has worked in two public health units and as a consultant has worked with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Education and the former Ministry of Health Promotion. She was involved in the creation of the 1992 and 2007 Canada’s Food Guides with Health Canada. Lynn has also been a consultant to Dietitians of Canada, as well as food marketing boards and industries. She has co-authored several cookbooks including Dietitians of Canada’s Great Food Fast and Suppertime Survival. Lynn is past chair of the Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, and past co-chair of the Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy group and is on Sustain Ontario’s Board of Directors. Lynn was a founding member of the Halton Food Council and a former board member of the Halton Fresh Food Box program. She graduated from the University of Guelph with a BASc in Applied Human Nutrition and a MSc in Human Kinetics.
Candace Aqui, Program and Policy Consultant
Candace Aqui is a Registered Dietitian and Program and Policy Consultant for Nutrition Connections. Candace’s main responsibilities include knowledge mobilization strategies, program and resource development and implementation, nutrition communications and technical applications. In addition, she serves as the subject matter expert in childhood and school nutrition, mental health and Indigenous health. Candace holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Waterloo, BASc in Nutrition and Food from Ryerson University and a Master’s in Public Health from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Erin Colburn, Program and Policy Consultant
Erin is a Registered Dietitian who oversaw the provincial Eat Smart!® School and Workplace Programs, developing and disseminating program materials and providing consultative support. Currently, her responsibilities include communications support, consultations, knowledge translation, and resource and program development.
Erin worked at the Canadian Sugar Institute as Coordinator of Communications for their Nutrition Information Service. She has also worked for many years as a nutrition consultant, with a focus on childcare menu evaluations. Erin holds a Master of Health Science degree in Community Nutrition from the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. She also obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Western Ontario.
Megan Charlish, Policy and Program Consultant
Megan is a Registered Dietitian and Policy and Program Consultant for Nutrition Connections. Megan’s primary responsibilities at Nutrition Connections include leading policy work that promotes healthy eating, developing nutrition-related tools and resources, and providing consultation and research services.
Megan has experience in school-based food policies and programs, healthy eating for children and youth, and health care policy. She completed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nutrition & Food and a Certificate in Food Security at Ryerson University and a Master of Public Health in Nutrition & Dietetics at the University of Toronto.
Sylvia Black, Program Analyst
Sylvia is a Registered Dietitian and Program Analyst for Nutrition Connections. Her primary responsibilities include developing NC’s communications, supporting the annual Forum, and overseeing program and project development.
Sylvia completed a BASc in Nutrition & Food and an MHSc in Nutrition Communication, both at Ryerson University. Her professional interests include heathy food access, sustainable food systems, and weight-neutral approaches to health.
Kimiya Karbasy, Program and Research Analyst
Kimiya is a researcher and Program and Research Analyst for Nutrition Connections. Her primary responsibilities include project development, research synthesis, and supporting communications for NC’s annual Forum.
Kimiya completed an Honours Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Nutritional Sciences and Physiology and a Master of Science, both at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include healthy food environment policies, with a concentration on municipalities.
Jules Phorson, Program and Policy Consultant
Jules is a Registered Dietitian and Program and Policy Consultant for Nutrition Connections. Her primary responsibilities include developing nutrition-related tools, resources, and events, and providing consultation and research services.
Jules has diverse experience in primary care and public health settings, and understands the value in collaborating across systems and sectors. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at Western University, and a Master of Public Health in Community Nutrition at the University of Toronto.
Nutrition Connections has two standing committees – the Advisory Committee and the Provincial Roundtable Committee – comprised of stakeholder representatives from among our clients and partner organizations.
The Advisory Committee provides subject matter advice and guidance on our strategic and operational goals. The committee is a network of individuals from across Ontario who work in a variety of disciplines (i.e., public health, community health centres, family health teams and academia).
Advisory Committee Members
- Chair: Karen Gough, Program Manager, Nutrition Connections
- Colleen Hill, Ontario Collaborative Group on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (OCGHEPA)
- Lyndsay Davidson, Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (ODPH)
- Marinella Arduini, Ontario Chronic Disease Prevention Management in Public Health, (OCDPMPH)
- Jennifer Buccino, Dietitians of Canada (DC)
- Krystyna Lewicki, Four Villages Community Health Centre
- Jessica Wegener, Ryerson University
- Rachel Prowse, Public Health Ontario (PHO)
- Anneke Hobson, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health
- Jennelle Arnew, Chatham-Kent Public Health
Laura Belsito, Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario (AFHTO)
- Xavier Debane, Manulife
For more information about the NC Advisory Committee , please contact Karen Gough, Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provincial Roundtable Committee
The Provincial Roundtable Committee includes representatives from Ontario’s public health units, community health centres, and family health teams. The Provincial Roundtable Committee discusses current public health priorities in the area of healthy eating and nutrition, provides updates on NC initiatives and activities, and identifies provincial needs required for supporting healthy eating and nutrition in Ontario.
For more information about the roundtable, please contact Karen Gough, Program Manager, at email@example.com.