New Consortium Of Nutrition And Medical Experts Takes On The Lack Of Nutrition Education In Medical Training

The authority whom patients most wish to consult for information on the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of disease -- their physician -- is more often than not insufficiently trained to help them, according to an article in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It's well known that diet plays a key role in the prevention and development of five of the ten current leading causes of death in the United States and that diet-disease connections are increasingly catalogued in medical literature.

So, why is nutrition so often largely absent, even missing, in young physicians' medical education?

The most prominent explanation, says the article, is the absence of nutrition-trained physician faculty who can argue persuasively for including nutrition in already crowded medical school curricula and, even more importantly, serve as physician role models for incorporating nutrition into patient care.

A new consortium of the nation's major professional nutrition societies, especially those with a large physician membership, plans to remedy that lack. The first objective of the Intersociety Professional Nutrition Education Consortium, created last year and listed as the collective author of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition paper, is to increase the number of physician nutrition specialists on medical school faculties.

The Consortium plans to:

  • Define what a well-prepared physician nutrition specialist is;
  • establish educational standards for the extensive post-graduate training these specialists will need to receive in nutrition;
  • implement a system by which training programs can be accredited and monitored and those who complete them properly credentialled, and;
  • get the word out to medical students and schools that such programs and faculty exist.

"We're operati

Contact: Douglas Heimburger, M.D., M.S.
American Society for Clinical Nutrition/American Society for Nutritional Sciences

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