Research Assistant – Dietary Assessment
Innovation in the Measurement of Diet, Physical Activity and Nutrition
Current work and interests
Rachel joined the NIHR Cambridge BRC Dietary Assessment Platform (DAP) in September 2018 as a Research Assistant, supporting the development of a new automated tool for capturing dietary intake at a population level. Her role includes working on the adaptation of a web-based 24-hour dietary recall system (Intake 24), to ensure it is suitable to meet the requirements of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), whilst reducing burden for participants to complete independently. This involves review and rationalisation of recipes and food codes held in the nutrient databank, maintained together with Public Health England (PHE), to ensure food composition data is available and up to date for foods consumed.
Background and experience
Rachel is a dietitian (HCPC registered), having attained a BSc (Hons) in Exercise Science & Nutrition in 2003, followed by a Master of Nutrition & Dietetics in 2009. She worked in public health and clinical dietetic roles for several years before expanding to global health as a VSO volunteer in Papua New Guinea, helping to build nutrition capacity in the country and train hospital and community staff in the management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). She subsequently completed an MSc in Nutrition for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), conducting her research project in Malawi, investigating adolescent dietary diversity and stunting across urban and rural populations, and developing food-based recommendations using Optifood linear programming analysis. Prior to joining the unit, Rachel was awarded a fellowship through Health Education England on the Improving Global Health through Leadership Development programme in Cambodia, where she worked with a local NGO to strengthen systems addressing undernutrition in their community.
Rachel has a keen interest in diet-related research and hopes to contribute further to improvements in public health. Her specialist interests include: emergency nutrition, undernutrition, and diet-related chronic disease.