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Pregnancy health shock motivates USC graduate to help prevent diabetes in others

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Developing gestational diabetes in her first pregnancy came as a shock to Dr Evelyn (Pheh Ping) Chang.

But the experience also inspired her to gain the qualifications she needed to help others with dietary issues.

Dr Chang wasted no time after completing a USC Bachelor of Dietetics recently to launch her clinic, Rainbow Nutrition and Dietetics, at Maroochydore.

The mother-of-two and a self-confessed “foodie” is now using what she learned at USC, combined with a Master of Molecular Microbiology from the University of Malaysia Sarawak and a PhD focused on medical inflammation from the Australian National University, to support the health of Sunshine Coast residents.

“When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I was very confused because a lot of the information online was conflicting,” Dr Chang said.

“So I decided I wanted to learn the correct information and come up with a plan to prevent diabetes in the future.

“Even though my gestational diabetes resolved after my pregnancies, I am highly at risk to develop Type 2 Diabetes later in my life and that may likely include my children.

“At my clinic, I have a focus on chronic disease and gut health, weight management, as well as diabetes management.”

Dr Chang, who began her dietetics study when her second child was five months old, received a University Medal for an academic score of 6.8 out of a possible 7 when she graduated in April.

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“I loved my placement year the most,” she said. “The lecturer and coordinator were really supportive to find me placements that helped me transfer my PhD skills in Medical Sciences.”

Dr Chang said scientific evidence showed that the diversity of a person’s gut microbiome played an enormous role in physical and mental health.

“Eating a diverse range of plant-based sources can help to diversify beneficial gut microbiome, and this can help to preserve your kidney function if you have a kidney disease,” said Dr Chang, who has a special interest in chronic kidney disease.

“This could also be the case with other chronic diseases as well as degenerative diseases,” she said.

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Dr Chang works with clients who have been referred to her by GPs but she is also available on demand.

“At the moment I am focused on consultation and nutrition assessment. Once we know the problem, we can look at what solutions there are for each person,” she said.

“I also like food and I like interacting with people and actually helping them, so that is also a good combination to make a dietitian.”

USC no longer offers the combined Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics program, but has available a three-year Bachelor of Nutrition and a four-year Bachelor of Dietetics.

Applications are open to begin study at USC in Semester 2. Prospective students can also register now for USC’s interactive online Open Day on Sunday, July 18.

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