Jess Barbon


As a dietitian fairly early in my career, the Dietitian Connection ESPEN congress tour 2014 in Geneva provided an array of opportunities. The congress program was highlighted by numerous highly accomplished health professionals and researchers, bringing to light the latest evidence, successes and challenges in provision of effective nutrition therapy. With a personal and professional interest in oncology, I found the presentations from Professor Alessandro Laviano and Professor Jann Arends on cancer cachexia management to be of particular interest. These esteemed speakers discussed the latest evidence in mechanisms and management of cancer cachexia. I was also enlightened by the Sir David Cuthbertson Lecture by Professor Vicky Baracos, with her views on skeletal muscle in clinical nutrition and metabolism. Professor Baracos’s research in the area provoked an alternative perspective on assessing nutritional status, with emphasis on body composition rather than body mass index. With such a number of thought provoking and inspiring sessions, I will be returning to my workplace with new knowledge to share with my colleagues, and professional relationships I hope to continue.

The unique opportunity to be apart of the Dietitian Connection tour group made the experience all the more worthwhile, as I was able to experience the ESPEN congress with some of my professional heroes. To be able to share ideas, compare practices, and generally ‘get to know’ some of the leaders in Australian dietetics, was an opportunity only a study tour could provide. Additionally, the mixture of cultures, countries, and professions attending the congress allowed for networking opportunities across the globe.

Generously supported by the Nestlé Health Science, another highlight of the study tour was visiting the Nestlé Research Centre in Lausanne. Here we were able to meet some of Nestlé’s researchers and learn about their Healthy Pleasures Program, receive a tour of their Metabolic Unit, and discover recent endeavours to understand consumer behaviour.

I would like to thank everyone involved in the success of the Dietitian Connection ESPEN 2014 study tour. I hope it will be the first on many more to come!