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Joanne Smith

Certified Nutrition Practitioner

Joanne Smith is a Certified Nutrition Practitioner who graduated with first class honours from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, holds a degree in psychology from York University, as well as a diploma in radio & television broadcasting from Seneca College.  Joanne also completed her certification as a First Line Therapy Consultant and Clinical Detoxification Expert. First Line Therapy (FLT) is a personalized, nutrition program centered on therapeutic lifestyle changes, which include healthy meal planning, nutritional supplements, and stress management.

Her nutrition services focus on providing services to individuals who have sustained traumatic injury with specialization in neurological conditions such as spinal cord and brain injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. 

After traumatic neurological and orthopedic injury not only is the body forced to cope with the direct impact of these injuries, but it must also deal with the psychological stress, physical pain, bio-chemical changes and hormonal imbalances that take place. Together these factors can contribute to the development of many common, recurring and potentially life-threatening secondary health complications such as weight gain, obesity, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory infection, osteoporosis, arthritis, constipation, bladder infections, pressure sores and fatigue.

These secondary health complications place additional demands on the body for calories, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, eating the right foods is crucial to meeting the body’s increased nutrient needs right after injury and during rehabilitation.  Practicing good nutrition can support the body’s inherent healing potential and help manage and reduce the risk of developing secondary health complications. 

In 2013 Joanne co-authored Eat Well Live Well with Spinal Cord Injury & Other Neurological Conditions, the first nutrition book dedicated to addressing the unique needs of people with SCI. She is also a regular nutrition columnist for New Mobility, PN, Sports nSpokes and Outspoken magazines in Canada and the USA, as well she teaches nutrition classes to individuals who are deaf/blind at The Canadian Helen Keller Centre.

Joanne has been the co-lead in American and Canadian university-based nutrition studies.  One study with Brock University entitled Neural and Behavioral Consequences of Chronic Inflammation Following Spinal Cord injury was the first study of its kind to use an anti-inflammatory diet using both foods and nutritional supplements to decrease neuropathic pain and depression. The overwhelming positive results of this study were published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation. 

With over 20 years of public speaking experience, Joanne has been the keynote speaker at conferences across North America and presented on the topic of nutrition at numerous national and international conferences such as the Mayo Clinic Neuro-Rehabilitation Summit, Harvard Medical School, Canadian National Spinal Cord Injury Conference, the American Spinal Cord Injury of Health Professionals, and The International Life Care Planning Symposium.

In addition to her nutritional practice, Joanne has hosted and produced two national television programs focused on telling in-depth stories about Canadians with disabilities, the Gemini award winning CBC show Moving On, and Accessibility in Action.

Joanne’s commitment to addressing the needs of people with disabilities is further demonstrated through her years as a dedicated mentor and volunteer for SCI Ontario, Lyndhurst Rehabilitation Center, Canadian Spinal Research Organization, Easter Seals, The Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons and numerous other disability organizations across the country.

Her dedication to raising awareness and assisting Canadians with disabilities led to her receipt of the King Clancy Award in 2006, induction into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 2007 and being honoured with the Gabriel Award in 2008.

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