Interview with Imogen Wolsey
To celebrate Dietitian’s Week, one of our resident Registered Dietitians, Imogen Wolsey, tells her personal story about why she first became interested in gut health and what life’s like as a Symprove dietitian. You can book a one-to-one session with Imogen to learn more about gut health, probiotics and Symprove.
1. Hi Imogen, please could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My journey into the world of nutrition and dietetics started at a young age due to a love of athletics, and when I began training at an elite level, I needed to learn to fuel my body properly for performance. As the intensity of my running sessions and my stress over competitions increased, I became prone to frequent IBS flare ups, which is when my attention was drawn towards the world of gut health. A desire to understand how the mind and body were connected and influenced by diet lead me to studying dietetics at University of Surrey, where I was part of the high-performance athlete support scheme. I then went on to complete a masters in sports nutrition at St Mary’s University, which I later followed up with a year of holistic health studies.
2. Once you had completed your studies, what did you do next?
Following the completion of my degrees, I continued to train as an elite athlete and worked as a part time nanny, which involved creating nutrition workshops for primary school children. I did some private dietetics work alongside this, in the form of consultations with teenage athletes who were struggling with disordered eating and energy deficiency.
3. What led to your next role and can you tell us more about it?
After meeting the Symprove team at the Food Matters Live conference in 2019, I took on the role of Healthcare Professional (HCP) Development Manager at Symprove. This role is ideal for me personally, as it combines my interest in the gut microbiome, my love for meeting new people (I love to talk!) and my enthusiasm for educating others on gut health and the role of probiotics.
4. What does a typical day look like for you as the healthcare development manager?
If I am not running a stand at a healthcare conference or setting up educational webinars or events, I typically have 4 or 5 meetings with healthcare professionals during the course of each day. These meetings are with dietitians, GP’s or gastroenterologists who are seeking to understand the clinical research behind Symprove.
Educating HCP’s on how Symprove, a unique water-based probiotic can help rebalance the gut microbiome is a key focus during our discussions. Using my personal experience of IBS management helps me provide practical advice around recommending Symprove for clinicians, and I can utilize both a professional and patient perspective to shape my guidance.
5. What do you enjoy most about working in the food industry and what has been a highlight for you?
Working at Symprove is wonderful. Walking into the office is like walking into a friendly, family home with great energy. We work as a team of like-minded people who are all eager to support patients. It’s exciting to be involved in research at the forefront of the field of gut health, which is evolving all the time. A highlight for me is the recent and ongoing research into the role of the gut microbiome and Parkinson’s disease – truly fascinating stuff!
6. There are many different avenues where qualified dietitians could use their knowledge and expertise to forge a career. How have you found your training to be key in being effective in your role?
The fact that I’ve experienced NHS dietetics work gives me great insight into the challenges that healthcare professionals face on a day-to-day basis. Being able to communicate on the same level as clinicians with appropriate scientific knowledge is key and being able to appreciate how things work for them on a practical level with inpatients and outpatients is a huge benefit.