Dr Tim Crowe – Thinking Nutrition
Posted August 29, 2017, by Jenny Sakr
When he's not busy training for marathons, Dr Tim Crowe runs his own business, Thinking Nutrition, where he works chiefly as a freelance health and medical writer and scientific consultant.
What is your current role and how long have you had it?
After a career in academia in nutrition teaching and research, I made the step this year to running my own business. As for a job title, whatever hat is needed for the role is the one I wear. Medical and health writer, scientific consultant, media communicator, nutrition scientist and Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian all fit comfortably.
How long have you been in nutrition?
18 years working across clinical dietetics, nutrition research, teaching and public health.
What did you study to become a nutritionist?
I undertook a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Sydney which gave me my recognised qualification, but this built upon the foundation of Bachelor of Science a PhD in Medicine.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to follow a career involving computers and programming. Yes, I was one of the nerdy kids at school.
What was your first job?
Working in the bakery section at Coles.
When did you first know you wanted to work in nutrition?
Prior to my career in nutrition and dietetics, I worked as a medical research scientist and was always fascinated about the role of diet in the prevention and management of disease and its role in sports performance. This interest grew over time which led me to make the move from the world of laboratory research to return to study and follow a career path in nutrition and dietetics.
Explain a typical day at Thinking Nutrition HQ
At any one time I’ll be working on multiple projects which include scientific reviews for clients, writing health articles for consumer publications, and preparing for upcoming workshops and talks to health professionals on areas from media communication right through to the latest research on disease management. Then there is the constant involvement in social media through my own channels. On top of that, there is responding to media enquiries that come through on all manner of topics: from the latest fad diets to breaking nutrition research.
What the most interesting thing that's happened to you throughout your career?
I still remember the time I got my first phone call from a producer seeking some background information for a TV story he was putting together. Our chat then led to me being interviewed for the story and that was my foot in the door to gaining media experience and developing a profile with almost 1,000 media interviews following on from that over the years.
Name the best and worst parts of your job
Nutrition is absolutely fascinating for me so I get to spend all my day reading, learning and putting into context the science that underpins it. The less enjoyable part is working in a field where someone with no qualifications can be considered an ‘expert’ and develop a large social media following and influence simply because they’ve lost weight eating a certain way and have read some blogs that agree with their world view.
What’s the most important career tip someone has given you?
Even at the early stage of your career as a student, taking the time to volunteer, attend professional development events and get to know those working in the profession is time well spent. Professional networks take time to develop and you can never start too early. Do it because you want to do it, not because you feel you should do it.
What do you wish someone had told you before starting in this career?
Despite all the science and research, nutrition is about food choices and these are incredibly personal. Appreciate that there is scientific evidence and then there is how this translates to the person and the two are not always in alignment.
Where do people have to start to become a nutritionist and what is a standard salary package?
The term ‘nutritionist’ is not a protected title so any one can call themselves this, but to be able to stand up publicly as a credible professional you would want to have a tertiary qualification in nutrition, food science or public health nutrition. The main role of a nutritionist is to help people achieve optimal health by providing information and advice about health and food choices. There is no standard salary because of the diversity of work areas a graduate could go into, but it would be in line with graduate level salaries for other health professions.
Name a career highlight
Seeing the nutrition textbook I’m a co-author on in print after several years of work (titled Understanding Nutrition). And then seeing it being adopted by many nutrition courses throughout Australia, including the university where I studied as a student.
What’s next for you?
You’ll find me still working in nutrition for many years to come, but I’m moving much more into the world of health communication using my media, social media and consumer writing profiles to grow this. I want to get more health professionals involved in communicating good health and science messages to the public.
Where would we find you when you're not working?
I’m a sadly obsessed marathon runner so fitting in running whenever possible during the week is a high priority. I also recently taught myself to juggle. There is a sport that combines both running and juggling called joggling so that’s clearly my next logical step.
Want to help others and offer valuable nutritional advice? Enquire about our courses in Nutrition today!
Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.