Ally is a fellow Bristol Alumni and we chat about turning ideas into reality and following our dreams. Ally shares her story of weaving her passion in nutrition, lifestyle medicine and mental health in her medical training and how she creates balance in her daily life.
Ally is cofounder of Nutritank, a medical student network connecting and empowering students and healthcare workers who want to expand their nutrition and lifestyle medicine knowledge.
Ally is also a current NHS Clinical Entrepreneur and is continuing to weave her love of food, nutrition and mental health into her clinical career.
Episode 28 features a chat with Ally.
It's lovely to have Ally chatting with me today. Ally is co-founder of Nutritank, a medical student network connecting and empowering students and healthcare workers who want to expand their nutrition and lifestyle medicine knowledge. Ally is also a current NHS clinical entrepreneur and is currently weaving her love of food, nutrition, and mental health into her clinical career with aspirations to follow her dreams into psychiatry. You're welcome, Ally.
Thank you, Rachel. So lovely to chat to you.
Thanks for being here today. I know you've done so much whilst you've been at med school which is actually fab to hear. So maybe we could start off by talking about Nutritank because I know that UK founded that in 2017. Tell us a bit about the story behind it and why you came up with the idea about wanting to create a place where you could share information on nutrition.
Absolutely. Just a massive thanks for having me on. I absolutely love that you're a Bristol alumni, so very special to chat to you. The origins of Nutritank start in 2017 when I was in my second year at medical school. I had taken a gap year before I started medical school because I didn't get in first time round, but [pass/fail?] we got that. I came across my co-founder Dr. Iain Broadley who was a grad medic, so he's now an F1 in Brighton.
What Ian and I noticed was that there was a huge gap in our medical education when it came to offering diet and lifestyle advice to patients. So when we were starting out lecture theatres right at the start of med school learning about the theory before we applied it, we only were learning around the physiology, the biochemistry, and the anatomy of the digestive system rather than the amazing research basis around nutrition and lifestyle interventions to not only prevent chronic disease but also manage the symptoms of chronic disease.
Then when we started shadowing GPs and doing more practical elements of the course, we noticed that in consultations that diet and lifestyle advice wasn't being offered either. So we thought to ourselves, "Hmm, is this just a local problem in Bristol? Or is there something bigger going on?" So we dug a little bit deeper, and we found that it was a systemic issue in our medical education.
The strangest thing was that in the NICE guidelines which as, you know, are the regulatory management guidelines that doctors are quite governed by that we saw the first-line management of most chronic diseases from polycystic ovarian syndrome to diabetes to high blood pressure the first-line management was to offer patients diet and lifestyle advice. So it was being paid lip service, but it actually wasn't implemented.
We wanted to get some hard evidence as well, so we started collecting national surveys from different pockets in the UK to find out what the barriers have been into implementing this. And it all came down to the number one factor was a lack of knowledge and a lack of confidence rather than a lack of time.