Primary Health Care



Primary health care (PHC) is the first point of contact that people have with the health care system. Dietitians play an important role in primary health care as valued members of the health care team. Dietitians provide leadership to support nutritional health through:

  • health promotion
  • disease prevention
  • treatment
  • support
  • rehabilitation

Primary health care dietitians work in:

  • Public health centres
  • Community health centres
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Wellness centres
  • Other primary care settings


Dietitians of Canada supports access by all Canadians to the right services by the right professional, at the right time, to address their health needs. The DC platform on Primary Health Care is based on five key principles:

  • Population health approach
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Access to a wide scope of primary health care services
  • More opportunity for health promotion
  • Affordability


In July 2009, Dietitians of Canada issued a position paper on the role of the dietitian in primary health care. The recommendations made to provincial and federal policy decision-makers include:

  • Develop and apply appropriate population needs-based funding mechanisms to support PHC nutrition services within their areas
  • Integrate nutrition services into all models of PHC
  • Monitor and evaluate PHC nutrition services to ensure effectiveness

This position was released to the media. It was also shared with other health professionals and provincial government decision makers.


Updated July 31, 2018

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Primary Health Care

Hear Dr. Paula Brauer discuss the significant role that dietitians play in primary health care.