Health conferences to bring 400 to city

More than 400 delegates will converge on Dunedin this week to attend two national health conferences involving dietitians and disease-control nurses.

About 230 people will attend Dietitians New Zealand's annual three-day conference, which starts today.

Half the participants are from the North Island, and about 10 people are visiting from overseas, mainly Australia.

The conference theme is "Isolated or Staying in Touch?"Conference organising committee member Fiona Carruthers, of Cromwell, said the conference would enable dietitians, whether living in cities or rural areas, to mix with "peers, pals and potential employers" and to stay in touch.

Keynote speaker Prof John Coveney, associate dean at Flinders University, Adelaide, will discuss food security and affordability issues.

Stephanie Hersh, a personal assistant to television celebrity chef Julia Child for 16 years, will speak during the conference dinner, at The Savoy Function Centre.

Jeni Pearce, a New Zealander and University of Otago-trained dietitian who was this year appointed head of performance nutrition at the English Institute of Sport, will give a presentation by video-link from England.

More than 170 delegates, about three-quarters of them from the North Island, will attend the 29th New Zealand Nurses Organisation National Division of Infection Control Nurses Conference, which also starts today.

The three-day conference, focusing on "Back to the Future", returns to the city, having previously been hosted here in 2003, when the theme was "Back to Basics".

Speakers include Dr Leo Celi, of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who will discuss "Quality Improvement in Infection Control".


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