After graduating with a degree in nutritional sciences and working as a dietitian in chronic disease management for about two years, Devon Guy wanted to do more.
Although she loved working one-on-one with clients, she was having difficulty seeing change in them and felt that there needed to be significant changes made to policy and programs to end up making a difference to an individual person. So, she decided to pursue a graduate degree.
“I have always been passionate about health, nutrition and physical activity,” says Guy. “I was looking for a program that would marry those three passions and could be done through distance education. The master of public health program in health promotion was a perfect fit for me.”
As a nutritionist, part-time model and travel enthusiast, Guy needed a program that could accommodate working full-time while also being flexible for her lifestyle. During her program, she ended up living overseas for a year.
“I was able to bring my master’s degree to wherever I was,” explains Guy. “I would pack my laptop, complete my projects and exams online and, depending on what time zone I was in, would sometimes have to set my alarm for 2 a.m. to sign into class. I didn’t have to adjust my course of life or lose a year of schooling. That was important to me.”
Now, Guy is the health education coordinator and certified diabetes educator with the Tsuut’ina Health Centre on Tsuut’ina Nation southwest of Calgary. In these positions, she develops and implements diabetes prevention programs and health promotion programs for children and youth in the community. Guy also completed her practicum at Tsuut’ina Nation.
Her practicum project involved adapting a program called Nutrition, Students, Teachers Exercising with Parents (NSTEP), a comprehensive school-based health promotion program, to an Indigenous school. This work is being used as a roadmap for other Alberta Indigenous communities interested in adapting health promotion programs for their use.
“Seeing the relationships that are being formed and impacts within the community has been a highlight for me,” says Guy. “It has been rewarding to take what I’ve learned through my degree in public health and work together with others to build education, and ultimately, better health for all.”
(Last updated November, 2017)