Contribution of regional networks to the nutrition education of physicians.
ABSTRACT To describe the activities of existing nutrition education consortia and their efforts to support nutrition education in medical schools and residency programs.
In an effort to improve nutrition education at member schools, regional consortia have: organized conferences and courses for faculty, fellows, residents, and students, developed curricula, fostered networking among faculty with shared interests, provided awards for excellence in teaching and research to faculty and students, collaborated with dieticians and non-physician faculty, prepared protocols for evaluation including formal tests, feedback techniques and preparation of Observed Structured Clinical Evaluation (OSCE). The structure and activities of two existing regional centers are described.
Goals and objectives for nutrition education have been established, but there remains a significant need for improvements in outcome measures.
Regional networks have been active in supporting nutrition education in those medical schools which have participated, and they have made contributions to the literature on nutrition education for medical students. A specific advantage of the regional center concept is the ability to pool the resources of many schools, each with a limited number of faculty interested and knowledgeable in nutrition.
The activities of the two Regional Centers suggest that medical school nutrition education programs can gather strength beyond that available at any single institution by forming a regional network. Collaboration of regional networks might offer a means to significantly improve medical student nutrition education. Future efforts, however, require closer attention to the need for evaluation of effectiveness.