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The Art and Science of Keeping Infants with Cancer Well-Nourished


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Speaker Bios:
Laura Collins
, RD
Registered Dietitian in Pediatric Oncology
McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences Centre, Hamilton, ON

Laura Collins graduated with concurrent degrees from the University of Western Ontario with a BSc Human Nutrition and a BA Kinesiology. She successfully completed her dietetic internship at the Hamilton Health Sciences Centre in 2000 and accepted a full-time position in pediatric oncology where she continues to practice as a clinical registered dietitian in the acute care setting. She has a particular interest in nutritional assessment, proactive enteral nutrition and anthropometric measures, resulting in several publications, posters and lectures over the past 17 years. Her most recent publication in 2017 was on anthropometry in long-term survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Laura has been involved in several COG- and POGO-nutrition related initiatives since 2003, including proactive enteral feeding lectures, CAM investigations and enteral nutrition guideline development. Laura also provides education about the importance of optimizing nutrition during and after cancer therapy to learners, including dietetic interns and medical trainees.


Deborah L. O’Connor, PhD, RD
Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Senior Associate Scientist
Translation Medicine Program, Research Institute
The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
Scientific Associate Staff, Department of Pediatrics
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON

Dr. Deborah O’Connor (PhD, RD) is a professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto where she holds a Chair in Vitamin Research in Human Milk and Development. She also holds scientific appointments at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. O’Connor served as the Director of Clinical Dietetics and Breastfeeding Support at SickKids from 2000 to 2012 and then as associate chief of academic and professional practice until 2013. Dr. O’Connor’s research career has focused on maternal and infant nutrition and she has published extensively in the area of the nutritional requirements of pregnant and lactating women, children, and strategies to support the provision of human milk to vulnerable infants. Dr. O’Connor has received numerous awards including the 2015 Khursheed Jeejeebhoy Award for best application of research to clinical practice from the Canadian Nutrition Society. She currently serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee for the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Donor Milk Bank, and was co-chair of the Canadian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Nutrition Working Group that recently published their first national female nutrition practice guidelines.

Laura Collins Presentation Description:
Cancer and its therapy can negatively affect nutritional status due to limited intake, increased metabolic needs and poor absorption. Malnutrition has been shown to decrease tolerance to therapy, impair wound healing, decrease quality of life and increase length of stay. Malnutrition in infants and young children is particularly concerning due to periods of rapid growth and limited body reserves. Baseline nutrition assessment, proactive nutrition support and monitoring to improve nutritional status is an essential adjunct to cancer therapy in this patient population. This workshop will review the importance of a multi-disciplinary team, assessment, nutrition interventions and monitoring of an infant with cancer to promote normal growth and development.

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