Dietary habits exert a powerful influence on the U.S. population's risk for cancer. Physicians are viewed by their patients as one of the most important sources of health information, and yet physicians are most often inadequately trained in nutrition. Improvements in the nutrition education of physicians are critical if we are to help Americans change their dietary habits and reduce the burden of cancer and other chronic diseases in the U.S. The most prominent impediment of improving the nutrition knowledge of physicians is the paucity of physician nutrition specialists (PNS) who can effectively advocate for change in medical school and residency curricula and serve as role models for incorporating nutrition into patient care. This national multidisciplinary initiative will establish an Intersociety Professional Nutrition Education Consortium (IPNEC) the purpose of which will be to increase the number and quality of fellowship-trained physician nutrition specialists in the United States. The Consortium will provide leaders for curriculum reforms designed to improve training related prevention and treatment of cancer and other diseases that have nutritional components. The ultimate goal is to enable every U.S. medical school to have on its faculty a physician who can collaborate with cancer educators, cancer education committees, and other curriculum committees to integrate nutrition/cancer principles into medical school and postgraduate medical training programs.
The specific aims of the IPNEC are to (1) establish educational standards for fellowship training of physician nutrition specialists; (2) implement a system of governance, including a mechanism for long-term support, necessary to accredit and monitor clinical nutrition fellowship programs; (3) develop standards for assessment and certification of physician nutrition specialists; and (4) disseminate information about the training and certification processes. The IPNEC will represent an important step in fulfilling the goals of Healthy People 2000, to equip physicians to help their patients prevent cancer and other chronic diseases through nutrition education and intervention.
|Heimburger, D C (2000) Physician-nutrition-specialist track: if we build it, will they come? Intersociety Professional Nutrition Education Consortium. Am J Clin Nutr 71:1048-53|
|(1998) Bringing physician nutrition specialists into the mainstream: rationale for the Intersociety Professional Nutrition Education Consortium. Am J Clin Nutr 68:894-8|