Catching up with the team at the National Health Co-op at Kambri Part 2

We caught up with Dr. Michael Tedeschi (GP) and Stefanie Lekkas (Accredited Practicing Dietitian) to find out more about their roles at the National Health Co-op at Kambri …

Stefanie Lekkas commenced her work at the National Health Co-op as an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) in 2014, having obtained both her Food Science and Nutrition degree and Master of Dietetics from Deakin University in Melbourne. She lifts the lid on what the job entails …

How did you get into your field of work?

I’ve always been interested in food – in eating well and being healthy. It all came about because one of my teachers at high school suggested it – I think I was in Year Nine at the time. I went on to do my Bachelor degree and my Masters and I’ve been working as a dietitian for about seven years.

How long have you worked at Kambri?

I’ve been here for around two years now, since March 2019. I did a full year face-to-face with clients, and then when COVID hit I started working from home doing phone and video consults.

Who are your clients?

I see staff and students, for a whole range of reasons. Anything you can think of that’s to do with food and anything you can think of that’s to do with the digestive system.

When I have new patients the first thing I tell them is that I’m not going to put them on a diet! I know the word ‘diet’ is in the job title, but I’m what you might call a non-diet dietitian. Unless of course there’s a specific reason why you have to be on a strict diet such as coeliac disease or a diagnostic diet for irritable bowel syndrome.

What conditions do you treat?

I get all sorts of conditions at all sorts of stages and ages.

I see students who have recently been diagnosed with something, for example, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common one. Fatty Liver is becoming more common, even in our younger population. Hypertension or high blood pressure, prediabetes, diabetes.

I see people for what I would call disordered eating, which is not quite eating disorders, although there are some students with eating disorders that I do see as well, in conjunction with psychologists, because that’s not a one-man show.

I see students who have just moved out of home and they’ve never cooked for themselves before – they’ve found themselves with a small kitchen and they’re not quite sure what to do with it, or they’re finding that eating out every day is either not good for their hip pocket or not good for the blood test results that their doctors have ordered for them.

It’s about how we improve health outcomes in a practical kind of way.

How many patients would you see in a typical day?

I’ve got space for eight 45-minute consultations. On Mondays I finish early so I have seven, but usually it’s eight and it’s pretty well packed!

What’s your favourite part of the job?

Getting to talk about food is pretty fun! I love it. My favourite part, however, is when a patient has a breakthrough for themselves. I often talk about intuitive eating and mindful eating and being in touch with your own body’s cues, and you get those moments where someone comes in and shares how they have been able to connect with themselves and actually listen to what their body’s telling them, and that’s always really cool because they repeat to you what you were about to tell them. That’s really heartening.

Also I love the times when I get to be a detective. My role turns from educator and counsellor, which is the more classic interpretations of what a dietitian does, and then there’s this new thing that I get to do – to be a diet detective. Someone comes in and says, “I feel bloated in the afternoons and I have issues with x&y” and we go through what it is that they might be eating and we can do a bit of detective work to figure out whether it’s foods that are triggering these symptoms or whether it’s some other environmental factors, or stress.

You’re not just looking at what the person is eating but how they’re eating and why they’re eating, and how can we tweak that to be better for the patient.

What are some of your favourite foods?

Oh, I suck at picking favourites because I like so many things! My mum makes a traditional Greek Cypriot dish called Pastitsio. It’s like Greece’s answer to lasagne. It’s made with penne pasta, mince and bechamel sauce.

A lazy Sunday morning breakfast would be some crepes with some fresh fruit, or a savory crepe with melted cheese. And then, I guess it depends on the weather, we might do some slow cooked lamb shanks or go for a more Japanese-style meal – our take on sushi, with some fresh fish from the Farmers Market. It really varies at my place.

What do you enjoy about working in the Kambri precinct?

It’s so pretty. Number one, it’s just lovely to be around. We’ve got the creek right under our noses, and the building itself that we’re in is really new, so everything is shiny and fancy. We’ve got beautiful windows and I think that’s so important for wellbeing – working somewhere where you can see the outside world and get some natural light. I love working there because, depending on the time of year I can get away with not turning my lights on and doing my consulting with natural light, which is awesome.

I like that it’s close to things; it’s easy to get to. There are some great little shops to explore – it’s nice that we have variety and plenty of dedicated outdoor space for students and staff to hang around. I like to take a lunchtime stroll along the creek.

The National Health Co-op is located in the Health and Wellbeing Centre, on Level 2 of Building 156. ANU students receive free membership, allowing access to bulk billed GPs and other health services. Visit www.nhc.coop/anu for more information.

Catching up with the team at the National Health Co-op at Kambri Part 1

We caught up with Dr. Michael Tedeschi (GP) and Stefanie Lekkas (Accredited Practicing Dietitian) to find out more about their roles at the National Health Co-op at Kambri …

If you think Dr. Michael Tedeschi has a familiar face, it’s probably because he’s been a GP at the Australian National University for almost a quarter of a century! He took some time out to fill us in on his very busy schedule …

How long have you been a GP?

I’ve been a GP on the Australian National University campus for 24 years, working under the banner of the National Health Co-op since 2018. I’ve been looking after some patients for 20+ years!

I’m also specialist physician at Canberra Hospital – I’ve been there for 41 years. I’m a specialist half my life and a GP half my life!

Why did you get into this field of medicine?

I basically fell into it by accident! I was a lecturer in general practice under the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and doing a little bit of general practice. The GP who was running the ANU health service is a friend of mine, and he rang me in desperation one day because some of his GPs were sick, one had resigned and one was away. He was on his own and he wasn’t coping. He said, “Would you come and work for a day or two?”

So, I went and worked for him just for a couple of days and I really enjoyed it. It was really fun. And the rest is history. I signed up and became a part-time doctor there and I’ve been there ever since – I think it was late 1997, so it’s a long time ago. When the NHC took over I stayed with them on campus.

What services do you offer at Kambri?

It’s a traditional general practice service, similar to most suburban GPs. The main difference is that we don’t see the general public; we just see current students and current staff.

We don’t see a lot of very elderly people because the patient load is current students and staff members, so we see the sort of spectrum of illnesses you would expect in a young population – mental health issues, sports injuries, that kind of thing.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I like dealing with young people; I relate well to them. I remember my own student days clearly and I feel young inside, and I think that translates in the way I deal with students. You look older, but you feel the same, so I just relate to this group really well, and enjoy dealing with them.

What do you enjoy about working in the Kambri precinct?

I enjoy the facilities the precinct has to offer. I enjoy the food and the coffee. I enjoy lots of people being around and I love the proximity to the city. I like being able to meet people and seeing old patients on campus. You become a part of university life, which is really nice. It feels like you’ve got your own special following of patients. I enjoy all those aspects.

What have been some of the biggest changes/challenges you’ve seen over the decades?

I’ve never seen anything like COVID! We did a lot of our consults via Telehealth last year – while doable, it isn’t the same. It’s impersonal. To be done well, general practice requires personal contact. It requires you to be in the same room as the person and read their body language, it requires all sorts of subtleties that you don’t get over the phone.

There was that fear around March/April – we were wearing masks, the patient were wearing masks, but we didn’t know whether we would be able to stay open. We did stay open but it was something I had never experienced. Things eased up a lot towards the end of last year – we stopped worrying about it really.

I’m also a clinical senior lecturer at the ANU medical school – that’s one of my other important roles. During COVID, my lecturing has all been done by Zoom, which I’ve never done before. Again, it’s do-able but it’s not the same as lecturing students in person. I’ve been a lecturer since the new ANU medical school was first opened 15 years ago, and I lecture to students across all four years of the medical school.

What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

I love orienteering; that’s my main sport these days. I’m a terrible orienteer – I’m one of the worst in Canberra. They give out a trophy every year for the worst orienteer – it’s called the ‘slow and steady’ award. It’s a giant turtle that you’re allowed to keep for a year on your mantlepiece and I was the recipient of that. I don’t know if you could be proud of that or not!

I love bushwalking. I love travel and I like spending time with the family. I’m looking forward to getting back to travel again!

The National Health Co-op is located in the Health and Wellbeing Centre, on Level 2 of Building 156. ANU students receive free membership, allowing access to bulk billed GPs and other health services. Visit www.nhc.coop/anu for more information.

HARRY HARTOG

Enter the charmed world of Harry Hartog Booksellers at Kambri

In the heart of the Kambri precinct at ANU, situated on the ground floor just below aMBUSH Gallery, there’s a magical space lined with shelves and filled with books. Welcome to Harry Hartog Booksellers – a meeting place between the many worlds that make up university life.

Their shop is self-proclaimed as “for the adventurer, the student of life and the next generation of reader” and they offer old-fashioned quality and creative ideas as the cornerstone of their community.

As one of Kambri’s flagship retailers, Harry Hartog’s Kambri stock includes textbooks, ANU merchandise, imported academic books, and ANU’s local authors and academics’ works, but customers of all ages and interests will discover new and second hand books that surprise and delight with every visit.

Harry Hartog has also become a key partner in one of ANU’s most popular public event series – Meet the Author.

For nearly three decades, the Meet the Author events have enthralled ANU staff and students, as well as the wider Canberra community, with some of the biggest names in literature gracing the stage, and now they’ve come to Kambri with Harry Hartog onboard.

Past talks and book signings have included appearances from the likes of Shaun Micallef, Archie Roach, Natasha Stott Despoja, Tony Jones, Jane Caro, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, AM, Blanche D’Alpuget and Erik Jensen.

In addition to Meet the Author talks, there are also in-store author visits and signings, curated book lists, plus live Story Time and school holiday programs for the little readers in your life.

Their stores don’t just stop at books; they also have an extensive range of cards and amazing gifts you won’t find anywhere else.

For the avid book buyer, Harry Hartog have a fantastic loyalty program – it’s free and easy to join, and as a member you can earn points from your purchases, which can then be redeemed against future purchases. They figured that the best way to reward their community of booklovers is to help them do what they love best… read more books!

As if they weren’t already fabulous enough, Harry Hartog also supplies and promotes products and services that meet ethical, sustainable and environmental trade practices.

So whether you can’t quite figure out the title of that book you’re looking for, need a specific textbook for uni, need to order a special something for a special someone, or are simply looking for advice on what to read next, the friendly, knowledgeable staff from the Kambri store will be there to assist.

THE PUBLIC REALM

There’s plenty to do for people of all ages at Kambri

When Kambri opened to the public in early 2019, it was a once-in-a generation change to the heart of the ANU campus that has made life here more lively, opening up this beautiful campus to staff, students and the entire Canberra community as an events and leisure destination.

For thousands of years, Aboriginal people came together, shared stories and learnt at the places we now call ANU and Sullivan’s Creek, so it’s only fitting that Kambri has transformed into a meeting place like no other.

There’s so much to discover in the vibrant public realm at Kambri …

University Avenue

University Avenue provides a welcoming and attractive and connection between Kambri, The ANU and the Canberra CBD.

It’s a streetscape designed for pedestrians, with picturesque trees, street furniture and smart poles featuring lighting, power, CCTV and Wi-Fi.

Events and activities such as markets and O-Week celebrations utilise its linear form and dedicated infrastructure on a regular basis, with the Avenue also playing a role for vehicle VIP entries into the ANU for special events.

The latest drawcard is ‘Exhibition Avenue’, an innovative initiative of Kambri at ANU, produced and curated by aMBUSH Gallery, which opened in July this year. It will feature a free year-round program of multidisciplinary exhibitions and activations, with an aim to showcase and support our world-class talent – both emerging and established – and provide an ever-changing ‘walk of art’ for staff, students, locals and visitors to Canberra alike.

The Kambri Lawn

The Kambri Lawn with its colourful bean bags has been a fan favourite since day one. As the weather warms up and we head towards summer, it’s the perfect place to relax between lectures while enjoying lunch from one of the many quality retail offerings.

Soak up the sun and the knowledge in the wide-open spaces, where it’s possible to feel like you have people around you, but still maintain COVID-compliant social distancing.

Grab a book from Harry Hartog, and sit in the landscaped gardens under one of the growing trees or at a picnic bench.

For the more active among us, there are regular activations including Fitness on the. Greens, and the popular Music on the Greens, which has been expanded to include Saturday and Sunday sessions.

The Amphitheatre

Overlooking Sullivan’s Creek, the purpose-built Amphitheatre is a spectacular place to eat lunch, watch concerts and soak up the village atmosphere. The stage sits on the reconfigured pond, with dedicated paths allowing access for productions in the space.

The Amphitheatre caters for a wide variety of events including ad-hoc performances and festivals and events, such as the extremely popular ‘Lakespeare’ (Shakespeare by the Lake) and the free nightly Kambri Film Fest held in January.

Weeping willows have been retained on the western side of Sullivan’s Creek to provide shade during summer months, and seating features grass as a cooling element.

The stunning Indigenous garden was planted in consultation with local Indigenous groups and will provide enjoyment for many years to come.

The Retail Offerings

A dynamic mix of over fifty retail outlets contributes to the vibrancy of Kambri. ANU students, staff and visitors can experience a variety of retail offerings on a daily basis, including a casual quick takeaway-style meal, cafes, bars, a grocery shop, bank, pharmacy, optometrist, bookstore, hairdresser, gym and more.

The Kambri precinct embodies the spirit of Canberra – connecting public spaces to culture, entertainment and education year-round, through a dynamic mix of eateries, art, film, music, theatre, sport and thought, all in a contemporary village setting, for all to enjoy.

PARSA CYCLES

PARSA Cycles at Kambri is ready to help make your cycling experience better than ever!

After a three-month hiatus, PARSA Cycles is open for business again, assisting the ANU and Canberra community with all their biking needs. After having opened their doors in March – just as the COVID19 pandemic hit – and having to close almost immediately, the team are grateful to have received such a warm welcome for their reopening in June.

PARSA Cycles is a social enterprise that gives pre-loved bikes a second chance, as well as offering a limited number of new cycles for sale, with a focus on maintenance and repair for students, faculty, and Canberrans alike.

With campus reopening, many students and staff are getting their bikes serviced and ready for the coming warmer months, which means the workshop is getting busier too. Stock – including chains, brake pads and cables – is constantly being replenished to keep bikes running safe and smoothly.

Popular accessories, such as locks, lights, racks and helmets, are in constant demand, while other items like grips, pumps, and multi-tools are growing with the cycling boom that has accompanied the pandemic.

If you need anything to get your dream bike build finished or to replace old worn-out items, drop by the store and have a chat with the shop manager Zac or one of the team members. They’re open Monday to Friday from 10am until 3pm.

You’ll find Zac super friendly and easy to talk to – he’s an ANU student himself, finishing off a Bachelor of Design at the School of Art and Design. He might even show you his own bike – a Vivente Swabia frame that he built up with Campagnolo shifters, Salsa Cowchippers, and a Rawland Cycles front rack.

Don’t worry if all of that sounds like a foreign language to you – the PARSA Cycles team is happy to let you know as much or as little as you like about bike repairs and maintenance. In fact, when social gathering restrictions allow, they plan to host free workshops to educate students on the basics of bike maintenance and repair – they see it as an investment in students and the future by empowering them to be self-reliant and getting the most out of their bike.

There are several standard services on offer, including:

  • $10 tube change
  • $30 brake adjust
  • $40 gear adjust
  • $60 basic service
  • $100 general service (which includes a wheel true, adjusting and lubricating the gears and brakes, and a clean). 

Staff from PARSA Cycles can also recommend some of their favourite areas to ride near Canberra, and in the future will start some casual group rides from the shop so locals can meet other people who love to cycle.

For more information you can visit @PARSACycles on Facebook or @parsa.anu on Instagram, search their website www.parsacycles.com or email them at operations@parsacycles.com

What are you waiting for? On your bike!