I am the I in IWK – Dr. Shannan Grant

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Dr. Shannan Grant, PDt, MSc, PhD
Affiliated Scientist, Department of Pediatrics & Department of
Obstetrics and Gynaecology, IWK Health Centre

“The caliber of care provided by IWK staff is second to none, in our experience,” Dr. Shannan Grant shares regarding the care she and her family receive(d). “And, as a researcher, it is truly an honour to work in this space – it always comes back to building and supporting community.”

At the IWK, Dr. Grant is involved in a number of research studies and has many internal and external collaborations (nationally and internationally). For instance, she and her colleagues recently secured funding to examine the effectiveness of glycemic index education on treatment of gestational diabetes. IWK staff that Dr. Grant currently collaborates with include, but are not limited to, Dr. Glenda Carson, Nurse, Dr. Jillian Coolen, IWK Doctor, Bethany Lezama, Physiotherapist, Catherine Walsh, Registered Dietitian, Joline Medynski, Registered Dietitian, Dr. Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, CIHR embedded clinical researcher at IWK, and others.

Dr. Grant’s research program focuses on two main pillars; one is the medical nutrition therapy pillar, examining how diet, foods, and food components treat and prevent chronic disease (like diabetes and heart disease). Pillar two is focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Community Outreach and Program Development. Dr. Grant’s areas of interest include chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition metabolism, two-eyed seeing, behaviour change theory, health coaching and intervention and education development and evaluation.

“I cannot stress how important I think it is for scientists to develop thoughtful, realistic and patient-focused research.”  When asked about opportunities to support the type of research she described, Dr. Grant highlighted the IWK Translating Research into Care (TRIC) Program and many others (locally and nationally). “These grants (TRIC) are fantastic and a perfect example of how to support the type of research I described above, because they encourage participatory-action approaches, integrate management (decision makers) and release the funding in levels/ stages.”

Originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Dr. Grant did her undergrad degree at the University College of Cape Breton (UCCB; now CBU), a second undergrad at St FX university, interned at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and completed her Masters and PhD at the University of Toronto. She is also a Canadian Fitness Professional and yoga instructor.

She and her family are now living in Halifax. “I’m overjoyed to be able to be home again and to have the opportunity to engage in and support local interdisciplinary community-based research. For instance, I just chaired the Inaugural Science Atlantic Nutrition and Foods Conference at Mount Saint Vincent University last week. I was engaged with Science Atlantic as a student at CBU and now my former professors are colleagues. It is a community of practice focused on providing dissemination and knowledge exchange opportunities for science students in a non-threatening and supportive environment.”

Dr. Grant can be found on twitter and Linkedin at @SGrant_PDt_RD

March is Nutrition Month and this year builds on the 2018 campaign that saw dietitians help Canadians Unlock the Potential of Food. Every day, dietitians help Canadians unlock the potential of food to enhance lives, improve health, inspire children, fuel activities and bring people together.