Earlier this week the ACGME hosted a Summit on Medical Education in Nutrition in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges. The event brought together 100 medical education stakeholders to discuss what residents and fellows need to know about nutrition to give them the confidence and competence to care for their patients, as well as how resident/fellow nutrition education fits into the continuum of medical education.
The event was inspired by the ACGME’s engagement with the Congressional “Food Is Medicine” Caucus, which has called on medical educators to ensure medical students, residents, and fellows receive nutrition education that demonstrates the connection between diet and disease. The Summit was first announced last fall as part of the ACGME’s commitment following participation in the Biden-Harris Administration National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health and accompanied conference calls for increased education on nutrition for physicians and other professionals.
The Summit began with a keynote address on the current state of food and nutrition policy, delivered by Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy working to translate and disseminate scientific evidence on nutrition into public awareness, policy, and innovation. He highlighted the need for and success of efforts to increase residency education in nutrition. “Residents and fellows again and again indicate that they want more education in nutrition,” said Dr. Mozaffarian. “When [they] have been given such education, nutrition curricula led to improved competence, understanding, assessment, and counseling around nutrition and improved [their] own dietary habits.”
The rest of the meeting featured panel discussions and group work, where participants discussed strategies and approaches to identifying, developing, and assessing competencies related to nutrition in undergraduate and graduate medical education. These conversations addressed how to provide learners with the necessary clinical experience and education on the cultural and structural aspects of nutrition, while underscoring the importance of working with dietitians and nutritionists as part of the health care team.
The Summit provided an opportunity for medical education stakeholders to come together to explore strategies for integrating nutrition and food insecurity into the medical education curricula while emphasizing health equity and interprofessional care. With that aim in mind, the Summit concluded with small and large group work codifying key learnings and refined recommendations from the group. The findings will be memorialized in a proceedings paper that will be shared with the medical education community to support action on this critical topic.