Dr Nouhad (Nina) El-Haddad

My interest in research began during my time as a student research dietitian at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. As part of my Master of Nutrition at Dietetics at the University of Sydney, I completed a research project looking at serum vitamin B12 concentration of overweight and obese children and adolescents with insulin resistance and/or pre-diabetes in Australia. This ignited my interest in research and academic work.

Shortly after, I was fortunate enough to begin my journey as a PhD student at CPHCE. The topic of my thesis was exploring the interaction between ethnicity and health literacy for weight management among obese Arabic-speaking immigrants in Australian primary health care. My PhD was nested within a cluster RCT of weight management in general practice. It was participants and data from this trial that provided me with the core materials for my analysis, which was a combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
It was important to me that the topic needed to be relevant to primary health care. As a dietitian, I frequently deal with obesity and its management, so investigating a topic that could contribute in a small way to improving our understanding of weight management was a priority. Although I have completed my PhD, I still feel like my work is incomplete. I am keen to explore ways to translate my work into the primary health care setting to truly make a difference.
Since completing my PhD I have been lecturing in nutrition and public health subjects at The University of Technology, Sydney and Western Sydney University.
I am indebted to a group of people whom without their significant contribution, guidance and support this PhD would not have been possible. Namely my supervisors, Professor Mark Harris, Dr Catherine Spooner, Dr Nighat Faruqi and Professor Elizabeth Denney-Wilson, as well as the staff at CPHCE.