Meet the Dietitian: Fatima Hoosen

We had a chat with Fatima Hoosen, who serves on the ADSA Executive Committee 2021 – 2023 in the Ad Hoc portfolio. Read on to get to know her better!

  • Tell us a bit more of yourself?

My name is Fatima Hoosen, I am from Cape Town, married and a mom of 4 with ages ranging from 16 to 4 years old.

  • Why did you become a Registered Dietitian?

I met a dietitian when I was about 16 years old. She told me about dietetics and I was immediately interested in the career. I then researched the profession and where to study the course. My dad was not keen on this course and encouraged me to study something else – I did one year of BSc (general) and then secretly applied for the course for the following year…and the rest is history!

  • What would you have wanted to do if not Dietetics?

I think teaching may have appealed to me – I enjoy working with young people.

  • Where did you study (degree and/ or postgrad)

I did my undergrad at the University of the Western Cape, my masters at Stellenbosch University and currently completing my PhD at the University of Cape Town.

  • Where do you work and what does your job entail?

At present I am a full-time PhD candidate, however I was clinical educator at UCT prior to this.

  • What do you enjoy most about the work you do? What are the most satisfying moments?

I enjoy working with people and being of assistance. When working with patients it is very satisfying when the desired outcomes for the patient are achieved. When I am working with students – it is extremely satisfying to see them grow and develop into qualified dietitians and later into leaders in the field.

  • What has been your career highlight?

Working in the UK has always been special to me. I initially worked as a clinical dietitian but when I went abroad for the second time I worked as a community dietitian working in various multidisciplinary teams. Another highlight was when I was awarded an internship at the South African Medical Research Council to focus on my PhD.

  • What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

My PhD is focused on behaviour change and I think understanding human behaviour and successfully implementing behaviour change can be extremely challenging for any dietitian. The trick is to make small changes which are easy to implement.

  • What is something that people don’t know about you?

I enjoy large scale cooking and have done so on a few occasions for people – like family weddings. I also recently discovered that I enjoy gardening. I have successfully planted quite a few rose trees and now I am trying my hand at some fruit trees.

  • What are your favourite foods?

I enjoy most foods but really enjoy seafood and pasta the most and any dish that my mom has made.

  • What are the three things that you think people should stop saying when they meet a dietitian?

‘You know I have been trying to lose weight but …’

‘I don’t usually eat this but this is a treat today’

‘I am sure that you would never eat chocolate’