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Patricia Margaret Anne Dunn 1932-2002

It is with great sadness that we record the death in May this year of Pat Dunn, known to most of us as Pat Maggiore, a friend and colleague to many within the dietetic profession. Pat's many outstanding contributions to the profession were significant to all of us at several levels over many years.

Born as Pat Oldham in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, she completed her BSc in 1953 at Queen Elizabeth College, London and went on to train as a dietitian at the Royal Infirmary School of Dietetics in Edinburgh. There she met Elizabeth Owles (dec) and began a lifelong friendship. In 1958 Pat and Elizabeth came to Australia with the view of spending two years in this country for experience and adventure. Initially the pair met with Jo Rogers at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney who offered them temporary work in the hospital's diet kitchen (1958-59). The pair then set off to travel around Australia, venturing as far as North Queensland before arriving in Melbourne where Pat worked with Wilma Campbell at the Queen Victoria Hospital (1959-60) as Assistant Dietitian. This position led to another at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital (1960-61) where she met colleague Betty Lynch who became another lifelong friend. Pat then went on to become Chief Dietitian at Fairfield Hospital (1961-64).

In 1964, Pat Maggiore, as she was by then, moved to Perth where she combined clinical work at Princess Margaret Hospital with her first lecturing position at Perth Technical College. Following a brief return to the UK in 1967, Pat began her 28-year association with Western Australian Institute of Technology (now Curtin University of Technology) in Perth in 1968 as a senior lecturer in nutrition and food science. Her academic career provided opportunities to extend her expertise into areas of clinical nutrition, where she researched human lactation, obesity and weight loss, as well as in food science, taking on the chemical analysis of bush foods. During this period of academia Pat undertook study leave at the Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, Cambridge, England where she assisted in a three-year mother/baby study of breast feeding. Her numerous publications and presentations at conferences in England, Europe and USA within each of her areas of interest as well as her personal interest in the development of the stu dents under her care were of outstanding benefit to the profession.

Pat accepted nomination and election to President of the WA Dietetic Association in 1968-69 and in 1970-72 was President of the Australian Dietetic Council (ADC). This was at the time when the ADC was moving towards improving communication between interstate dietitians and to establishing a national body to accredit the training of all Australian dietitians.

Pat found that dietitians practising in Western Australia were isolated from participation in Australian dietetics and were forced to travel to the eastern states periodically to maintain contact. She was convinced of the need to encourage better communication between state groups and was instrumental in the initiation of a national newsletter, Locusts and Wild Honey in 1972, which became the official Australian Dietetic Council publication. As editor of this newsletter, Pat drew upon the activities she considered to be of national interest for items included in the publication. Through lack of financial support only 4 issues were published between 1972 and 1975, although Pat had envisaged its use as a vehicle for information relating to seminars, research reports, food analysis figures and job vacancies. This vision was an amazingly accurate prediction of the functions of the contemporary DAA publications.

The items in these early newsletters included the planning for the scientific program of the International Congress of Dietetics held in Sydney in 1977 as well as the concerns for equivalent status in dietetic training throughout the Australian states. As each state had evolved its own programs for training dietitians, the latter had been a major point of dissension between the states. The airing in the newsletters of these topics under discussion by the ADC to all Australian dietitians, led eventually towards better national communication and greater tolerance between the states.

During her term as President of the ADC, a special committee was formed and a working party was organised in the ACT to study and to make recommendations leading towards national professional accreditation. Arising from these ADC discussions was the unity that eventually led to the breaking down of the state barriers that had created impediments to the advent of a national association, the Australian Association of Dietitians (subsequently, Dietitians Association of Australia).

At this time the Committee of Overseas Professional Qualifications (COPQ) was set up to assist overseas dietitians arriving in Australia as migrants to obtain status to practise professionally. Pat became actively involved in the tasks delineated by this committee, and helped establish standards for the entrance of incoming professionals into Australia. The work undertaken by this committee preceded that of National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (NOOSR) which now has the responsibility of admitting intending professionals to practise dietetics.

Pat accepted the responsibility of communicating a professional view of nutrition to the general community, regularly contributing to public information sessions involving food, nutrition and lifestyle issues, including ABC educational radio talks and lectures to general medical practitioners, nursing mothers and weight watchers groups. The 1970s also saw the birth of Pat's varied writing career. Pat contributed articles on budgeting for the home-maker for The West Australian newspaper for a decade, recipes for a set of cookbooks and a series on kitchens for About Homes (1980-81). Tables of Composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods, co-authored with Jennie Brand Miller and Keith James and published in 1993, was the culmination of Pat's long-term interest in the nutrient composition of Aboriginal foods. As recorded by Stewart Truswell in the foreword, Pat pioneered this field in the 1970s, followed by Jennie Brand Miller in 1979 and the Australian Army in 1980.

After many years in Curtin University's Department of Home and Consumer Studies, serving as Head for the last two years of this department's life, Pat was a welcome addition to the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, part of the then School of Community Health. Thus over her 28 years at Curtin, Pat influenced students who have taken on many different roles in the health arena--home economics teachers, home economists, public health nutritionists, and clinical and research dietitians. During this time Pat maintained a private practice on Saturday mornings, always wanting to be in touch with clients. In the words of her old friend, Elizabeth Owles, Pat had the ability to present the necessary facts with human interest stories, no doubt gleaned from her rich and varied professional experience. Even in retirement Pat continued to fuel her interest in and care of people--she continued supervising dietetic students until 1998 and was a Silver Chain volunteer from 1998-2001.

Over the years, colleagues came to know and respect Pat's artistic and creative talents, as well as her zest for gardening, cooking, travelling, cricket and rugby. She touched us all and we miss her dearly. We are comforted by the fact that Pat enjoyed five years of a very active and fulfilling retirement. With her husband Peter, she spent a few months of each year in the UK, catching up with her daughter Louise and her brothers and their families, and the good friends she had kept in contact with during the time she lived in Australia. Australia's nutrition community certainly benefitted by the decision that she and Elizabeth made 44 years ago to visit Australia.

Jan Pritchard, Melbourne and Jill Sherriff, Perth
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Title Annotation:Patricia Margaret Anne Dunn
Publication:Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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