(This is one in a series of blog posts relating to the wider interests of speakers due to take part in the Medicine 360 festival.)
Ally Jaffee, who is on our 'Eating' panel (see the 'Schedule' page), is the College of Medicine's student nutrition lead. She is also a Bristol medical student and the co-founder of Nutritank, an information and innovation hub for food, nutrition and lifestyle medicine focused on bringing change to medical education. Founded just three years ago, Nutritank's influence has spread remarkably quickly -- there are already over 20 branches at universities across the country.
Nutritank's long-term aim is to persuade each UK-based medical school to commit to increasing the time spent on nutrition and lifestyle education within the curriculum. This is something that Ally and her co-founder Iain Broadly are passionate about.
As a (hopefully) more short-term aim, Nutritank has looked for ways to support healthcare workers and the community at large during the pandemic. Since the start of the response to COVID-19, the team has been making innovative and valuable contributions. These include coordinating the nutrition section of the doctor-led Beat COVID campaign. This supports NHS workers in two ways: by providing daily expert wellbeing content; and by collaborating with food brands to help get products donated to those working on the front-line. Nutritank is using its Facebook platform to connect healthcare students online and is responsible for creating the social media campaign #togetherevenwhenapart to promote community wellbeing. They have also been putting out some very useful digests and videos via their own website. You need to sign-up, but it's well worth it. Here are a couple of tasters: first some tips for lockdown life (on calm, nutrition, sleep, activity, and mindfulness);
and then a video giving a colourful approach to coming up with healthy recipes to help keep your diet interesting and varied.
Nutritank have podcasts, too. 'Nutritank: Nourish Your Mind', on Soundcloud, is a series providing accessible and topical insights into lifestyle medicine and public health. It also makes for interesting listening material about the experience of lockdown. In the first episode, you can hear how Iain, along with the rest of the University of Bristol's final-year medical students, was given an early graduation so that he could help relieve some of the pressure experienced by hospitals in treating those suffering from COVID-19.
Josie Harrison, 4th Year Medical Student, University of Bristol, May 2020