A fond farewell to Corinne Eisenbraun, Senior Director, Education Policy and Programs
Corinne is a curious, clever and kind-hearted professional. She is also an ingenious problem-solver and a “tough-as-nails” negotiator. Canadian dietitians from coast to coast to coast have benefited from her talents over the course of her career in dietetics, and we know they join us in thanking Corinne for her commitment to the profession and in wishing her the very best in retirement.
After studying dietetics in Edmonton and completing an administrative internship at the Misericordia Hospital, she worked in rural Alberta, honing her skills and developing a passion for management and policy work. This work, often as the sole dietitian on site, led to a position as a Director of Dietetics and further expansion of her skills to staff management, strategic planning, finance and contract management. During a sabbatical year, she moved to Canterbury England to undertake graduate studies regarding how female occupations become recognized as professions. At the time, Women’s Studies was very much an emerging field and exploring the social sciences was very different from her undergraduate training. Given the roles she would assume in the future, her choice of study was prescient! Upon her return, Corinne accepted a position as District Dietitian with responsibilities for nutrition, housekeeping and laundry services in 10 facilities across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This position no doubt contributed to her ability to be “quick on her feet’ and able to problem solve in tough situations when others might panic. Interpersonal relationships have always been important to Corinne and her ability to maintain them in the face of differing perspectives and sometimes difficult disagreements is a testament to her openness, her ability to ensure everyone is heard, her willingness to explore novel and creative alternatives and her determination to ensure that the best collaborative outcome is achieved.
Her interest in policy work was expanded when, between 1995 and 1997, Corinne served as the Registrar of the Manitoba Association of Registered Dietitians, now the College of Dietitians of Manitoba. She served as part of the national transition team that, responding to new provincial legislation, separated professional association functions from regulatory ones that lead to the creation of our Canadian dietetic colleges and Dietitians of Canada.
In 1997, she transitioned to Dietitians of Canada to become the first Regional Executive Director (RED) for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North-Western Ontario and Co-Director of Professional Development.
Corinne is a skilled author and advocate, and during her tenure as RED, she wrote compelling briefs and policy documents that opened doors for her to advocate to provincial and federal Ministers and policy advisors regarding the value that dietitians bring to numerous domains including home care, long term care, food security, primary care, and school nutrition.
Corinne has served as Vice Chair and Chair of the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. Colleagues describe her as an “articulate, and if need be, a formidable spokesperson” and a “courageous defender”, who helped secure funding for nutritious snacks and breakfasts for vulnerable children and lead the council through a challenging transition to become an independent charitable foundation. Corinne has also served as a Board Member and Chair of Healthy Start for Mom and Me. Her passion and commitment to this program continues to today.
Corinne demonstrated an early interest in the training of dietitians through her work on the redevelopment of internship delivery in Manitoba and in the creation of the Northern Ontario Dietetic Education Program. This work continued with the formation and evolution of the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP) which Corinne has been very instrumental in. Beginning in 2008, joint meetings involving representatives of Dietitians of Canada, Provincial Dietetic Regulatory Bodies, and Dietetic Education Academic and Practicum programs were held to discuss a model of collaboration. This resulted in the formal announcement in 2009 of PDEP formation with a Steering Committee composed of equal sector representation from DC, the Alliance of Canadian Regulatory Bodies, and Dietetic Education Academic and Practicum programs. In PDEP, Corinne played a key role in obtaining grant funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to begin development of the Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice (ICDEP’s) released in 2013 and recently updated. She also was integral in the planning of the structure to support PDEP in assuming responsibility for dietetic education program accreditation. Corinne has served as a DC representative on the PDEP Steering Committee since its beginning and, since 2015, as a Co-Chair providing direction and leadership.
Corinne has always had passion for advancing dietetic research. As the RED for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North-Western Ontario, she collaborated with universities and health authorities to create Prairie Research Days in 2003. While the event has evolved over the years, it remains a highly valued event that still happens annually in Saskatchewan. Corinne has been also been an avid supporter of the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR), serving on the Board of Directors, and ensuring that research funded by CFDR is innovatively profiled at the DC conference each year.
As past Director Professional Practice Development and the current Senior Director, Education Policy and Programs, Corinne is perhaps most recognized for her leadership in planning and delivering the DC conference every year since 1998. Corinne was always scanning the horizon and engaging innovators to ensure the program reflected critical dilemmas faced by dietitians while incorporating ideas such as off-site market tours, dietetic cinema and Brain Dates to ensure delegates enjoyed many unique experiences to learn from. Not only did the DC conference evolve into a prime learning and networking event for delegates, it was an effective marketing venue for sponsors and an excellent forum for speakers to share practice tools and research findings. She also was fundamental to many other key initiatives, a sampling of which includes:
- developing the 6th Edition of the Manual of Clinical Practice in collaboration with the American Dietetic Association,
- conceptualization of Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN)
- developing the National Telehealth Framework
- contributing to the DC paper: Role of the Dietitian in Dysphagia Assessment and Management and support of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (IDDSI)
- contributing to DC’s position statement: Advertising of Food and Beverages to Children
- conceptualizing Practice (now the Practice Blog)
- Defining advanced practice in Canada
As dietetics is a small profession, Corinne was keenly aware of the importance of collaboration and partnerships to achieve organizational goals. She has expertly represented DC and Canadian dietitians regionally, nationally and internationally. She effectively collaborated with Obesity Canada to create specialized learning programs that continue to this day; she worked with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists and Speech Language and Audiology Canada to deliver a specialized training program in Dysphagia; she led the Canadian involvement on International Nutrition Day 2010 – 2015; she worked with national and international leaders in the Nutrition Care Process including development and revision of DC position Statement on the Nutrition Care Process and IDNT terminology as well as the French translation of the terminology which supports French-speaking dietitians around the world. Corinne currently represents Canada on the Board of Directors of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations (ICDA).
Corinne was an early adopter of technology and particularly how it could be harnessed to provide accessible education for the dietetics profession. Always a learner herself, she sought further training in adult education to explore what was then emerging tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and gamification. She applied her learning to the development of DC’s diverse online learning platform (initially Dietetics@work) and now Learning on Demand, inperson events and the DC Online Course portfolio. Corinne was committed to working with interdisciplinary advisory committees, sponsors, volunteers, content experts to create key learning tools and events to support dietetic practice while also making a strong business case so that these tools are sustainable.
Her creativity extends beyond her professional accomplishments. Needlepoint, knitting, costume design (level 1 and 2 certificates in Apparel Design) and of course her legendary quilting are all skills at which she excells. Corinne is openminded and open hearted. She and her husband Paul hosted international students for many years, helping them get settled in Winnipeg while they embarked on their academic training at local universities. Their wonderful hospitality was also offered to actors participating in Corinne’s beloved Fringe Festival activities. She has a quirky sense of humour and is a fierce competitor when playing board or card games (Settlers of Catan or Unexploded Cow anyone?).
Corinne, thank you for making us laugh, making us think, encouraging us to embrace novel partnerships and collaborations and for tirelessly contributing in so many fundamental ways to the dietetics profession in Canada and internationally.