UBC Dietetics Program Team

Meet the UBC Dietetics Program Team!

Tamara Cohen, Director of Dietetics (RD, PhD)

Tamara is a Director of Dietetics and an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Dr. Cohen received her dietetics degree from Montreal’s McGill University. After graduation, she took on a maternity leave position as a clinical dietitian in an acute care centre and opened up a private practice. After discovering this was not for her, she found a job as a community dietitian, specifically working in homecare and an out-patient clinic in Montreal. Tamara decided to return to McGill and pursue a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences, specifically working with pregnant women and exploring dietary intake as it related to gestational weight gain. She then taught at McGill as a Faculty Lecturer / Clinical Coordinator for McGill’s Dietetic program before joining McGill again to pursue a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. Her PhD focused on childhood obesity, and she created a family-based lifestyle intervention. Tamara’s research is always dietetic-centered, and aims to create tools to support practice. She is also interested in understanding how to improve adherence to dietary interventions.

 

Tamar Kafka, Dietetics Education Coordinator (RD, MSc)

Tamar is a Registered Dietitian who joined the UBC Dietetics Program in 2011. Tamar completed her BSc in Dietetics at UBC, then her post-graduate internship at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre in Manitoba. She worked as a clinical dietitian in Winnipeg, then in Vancouver, primarily with adults in ICU and on hemodialysis, as well as with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. After a decade as a clinical dietitian, Tamar returned to school to complete her MSc in Nutrition from Tufts University in Boston. Upon her return to BC after graduate school, she worked as a clinical dietitian educator where she recognized her deep passion for dietetics education, which led to her role with the UBC Dietetics Program. Tamar’s role is focused on program educational planning and delivery, as well as program management. The dietetics profession is wonderfully diverse, and her role is no exception. She tries her best every day to be a learner, an educator, a collaborator, an advocate, a listener, a leader and much more. Tamar lives on the traditional territories of the Coast Salish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. She is the first generation in her family to be born in Canada and spent most of her childhood growing up on or near the unceded lands of the Coast Salish, Katzie, Tsawwassen and Stolo people. When not working, Tamar is usually with her 3 little kids. She travels with them as much as possible, to follow her partner’s overseas work adventures. Otherwise, she is outside, getting her hands dirty in the soil around her home, learning how to grow as many vegetables, fruit trees and flowers that yard can manage.

 

Kara Vogt, Dietetics Education Coordinator (RD, MEd)

Kara (preferred pronouns: she/her/hers) qualified as a Registered Dietitian and entered the profession in 2006. Kara completed her dietetics degree at the University of British Columbia, and a post-graduate dietetic internship with Vancouver Island Health Authority. As part of her studies, she spent six months at the University of Wollongong in Australia. She has worked as a clinical dietitian in inpatient, outpatient and residential care roles for several BC health authorities. In her current position as a dietetics educator, she is involved in a variety of program management, curriculum leadership, and teaching roles. In 2014, she completed a Masters in Educational Leadership at Simon Fraser University and published her research on professional development models for dietitians, in the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. Kara is inspired and energized by the diverse roles and contributions of dietitians in wellness promotion, chronic disease management, in the food industry, public policy and more. Equity and social justice have always been core values in her practice. As a white settler on Coast Salish lands, Kara strives to use her privilege to push the dietetics profession toward greater equity.  Kara contributes to furthering provincial and national priorities for the dietetics profession as part of several groups and committees; she was elected to serve on the Dietitians of Canada Board of Directors from 2017-2021.

 

Alison Browes, Dietetics Education Coordinator (RD, MHA)

Ali is a Registered Dietitian who lives and works on the unceded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh Nations. Ali completed a degree in biology prior to entering the integrated dietetics program at UBC. As part of her dietetics degree, Ali complete her internship with Vancouver Island Health Authority. After graduation, Ali worked primarily in clinical pediatric nutrition with Fraser Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority and HealthLink BC. She worked in a variety of clinical roles before joining an interdisciplinary team to support children with complex feeding and nutritional issues. Ali has had the opportunity to participate in the development of new programs and advocate for changes in health care delivery. In 2013 Ali completed her Master’s degree in Health Administration at UBC. Ali believes in the value of interprofessional health care provision to support high quality health service delivery in B.C. and that dietitians are an integral part of the health care team. Ali finds great joy in being out in nature and spending time with the people in her community.

Gordon Ly, Dietetics Education Coordinator (RD, CDE)

Gordon (preferred pronouns: he/his/him) is a first-generation Chinese Canadian settler on Coast Salish territories of the Tsleil-Waututh and Qayqayt. He grew up in the Okanagan territories of the Syilx (now known as Kelowna), where his family fled from Southeast Asia as refugees. Gordon is a Registered Dietitian, having completed his Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition and Health with Honours at UBC in 2014, with his integrated practicum at Fraser Health. He has worked in a variety of practice areas, including inpatient medical/surgical units in hospitals, a private primary care center, retail dietetics, outpatient clinics for adults and pediatrics, and private consulting. He currently holds a Certified Diabetes Educator certification. He practices from a weight inclusive perspective and has a special interest in pediatrics. He is passionate about dietetics education, especially in the context of the intersections with health equity and gender, race, and weight bias.

Xinyan Fan, Dietetics Program Assistant (MA)

Xinyan moved to Canada from Shanghai, China in 2013 and started his graduate study at the University of Victoria on the traditional land of lək̓ʷəŋən peoples. As an early childhood educator before, he focused his research with the local kindergarten teachers on the topic of gender, equity, and education in his Master’s thesis. In 2016, Xinyan was accepted to a PhD program by the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at UBC. During that period, he was engaged in several roles on campus, including one research of the student teachers who participate in the international exchange program, organizing events for Wingspan research cohort, and working as a Peer Advisor in the department to support other graduate students. After the struggle of his dissertation, he shifted his path to a more practical area: student services. Prior to joining the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Xinyan worked as a Student Information Services Officer in the Registrar’s office at Capilano University for two years. Holding the knowledge of curriculum theories and the experience from the previous position, he believes that education should be a holistic journey for each student, a lived experience that occurs not only in the classroom, but in every encounter/conversation/activity with the staff, fellow students, and the land. Inspired by this spirit, he wishes to support every student in the program and be a part of their learning experience. Although he is not a dietitian, Xinyan loves cooking, baking, and exploring different coffee. He even worked as a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks. Feel free to grab him for a coffee chat and walk!

Student Staff

Vlada Klymenko, Dietetics Student Project Assistant

Vlada (preferred pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Dietetics Student Project Assistant and a 5th-year dietetic student who will be completing her practice education with Provincial Health Services Authority. She is a first-generation immigrant who now lives on the territories of Coast Salish and Kwantlen nations. Outside of work and school, Vlada enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.

Yasmin Alachkar, Dietetics Curriculum Assistant

Yasmin (preferred pronouns: she/her/hers) is a Dietetics Curriculum Assistant and a second generation Lebanese-Canadian who lives on Coast Salish territories. She has recently completed her 4th-year in the dietetics program and is completing her 5th-year at Providence Health Care. In her spare time she enjoys painting, playing the piano, gardening, and outdoor activities.