Staff spotlight: lead specialist allergy dietitian

Sally Ann Denton

Sally-Ann is the lead specialist allergy dietitian for both the adult and paediatric services at University Hospital Southampon (UHS). 

‘I’ve always had an interest in food allergy. For a number of years, I worked at a large district general hospital on the south coast and following completion of an MSc Allergy degree at the University of Southampton, I was able to incorporate more allergy into my clinical role and set up a children’s food allergy dietetic clinic.

‘Prior to my current role, I also worked as a locum specialist allergy dietitian on the Isle of Wight one day a week, in addition to my substantive post at the time. When a vacancy came up for an adult allergy lead dietitian at UHS, I knew it was right for me and decided to apply. I was lucky enough to be successful and, as a result, was able to set up and lead the new adult allergy dietetic service at UHS in January 2016.

‘A couple of years later, I took up the position of lead children’s allergy dietitian alongside my other role. The two work together really well and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work as the lead dietitian for both teams.

‘Being a part of a tertiary allergy service with an expert multidisciplinary team is a real highlight of working here at UHS, because it means that all aspects of the patient’s care can be delivered in one place. It’s been a privilege to develop a new dietetic service from scratch, showing other healthcare professionals the benefits of having specialist allergy dietitians working in the team. Additionally, I’ve had some fantastic opportunities to help others and diversify my own career – I now co-lead the food allergy module on the MSc Allergy course at the University of Southampton; the same course I studied myself all those years ago!

‘If you’re a dietitian interested in specialising in allergy, I’d suggest that you do some shadowing in a specialist centre like the one here at UHS. There’s a huge department with a lot to learn. I’d also recommend doing some further study, such as a master’s course in allergy, to really hone your skills and gain a qualification that sets you apart.’ 

Interested in joining our team? Find our current vacancies here.