Providing superior nutritional planning through evidence-based practice
“Dr. Janet Madill pioneers research in nutritional planning for lung and liver transplant patients.”
By Ashlan Potts
During her initial practice as a clinical dietitian in liver and lung transplantation, Dr. Janet Madill was surprised at how little had been published on nutritional status within the transplant population. With excellent support and mentorship from members of the transplant team at Toronto General Hospital, Madill decided to take the initiative to fill the evident gap in research.
From the moment Madill recognized the need for this research, her motivation and drive throughout her Master’s degree, and PhD and subsequent career advancements, have been to provide the best possible nutrition care plan for her patients. She has accomplished this through strong and focused research and the findings of her numerous publications. Her most recent article published in Inflammatory Response in Cardiovascular Surgery, entitled “Nutritional Factors, Oxidative Stress and Lung Transplantation,” focused on her in-depth analysis about the importance of proper nutrition for lung transplant patients.
Other research interests for Madill include oxidative stress and obesity in transplant patients. Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance of anti-oxidants in the body and can be minimized through proper nutrition planning and support. In terms of obesity, healthy weight has been identified as an indicator for success in terms of morbidity and recovery rates for transplant patients. For other transplant patients, Madill explains, “Patients scheduled to see me had been seen by the transplant doctors with the goal of donating a portion of their liver to their family member, but couldn’t because of the fat content in their liver. At that time, Dr. Madill was mentoring a Master’s student from the University of Guelph, and together with the health care team members, they developed an appropriate nutrition research program to work with the patients, offer them proper nutrition, guidance, and support so that they could experience greater success with the transplants.
At Brescia, Madill is currently working on a collaborative nutrition program with the University Health Network (UHN) Multi-organ transplant program and recently became the Research Chair in Nutrition and Transplantation at the UHN. As a faculty member, she notes that it is also important to collaborate with the liver transplant program here in London. With a collaborative team approach, Madill is confident that they can produce more valuable research on hot nutrition topics for such a unique group of patients.
Madill’s long-term goal is to teach the importance of evidence-based research to all of her students. She adds, “As clinical dietitians, if we are not conducting evidence-based research, we will soon be out of a job. It is where our industry and profession are going. Madill notes that continuing with the status quo is not acceptable and with this current fiscal climate, clinical dietitians must be able to provide nutrition intervention strategies and to say with confidence that they are providing the best evidence-based practice. “We are at the point where we can no longer separate research and clinical practice. They should be synonymous.”
Madill plans to provide high-quality experiential learning to her students, through hands-on labs and case studies based on over 20 years of her clinical practice experience.