Given the prevalence of nutritionally related chronic diseases in American society, the training of physicians should include a focus on the relationships of diet to disease. Yet, in spite of scientific data, public interest, U.S. government reports, society studies, and congressional mandates, the teaching of nutrition in medical schools and residency programs remains inadequate. Physicians thus remain insufficiently informed about the role of diet in the prevention and treatment of disease. New efforts must be initiated to train nutrition-literate physicians.
The principal obstacle to nutrition literacy among physicians is a paucity of Physician Nutrition Specialist® (PNSs) on medical school faculties who can effectively advocate for change in medical school and residency curricula and who can serve as role models for incorporating nutrition into patient care. In order to encourage the nutrition societies to unite in addressing these issues, the Intersociety Professional Nutrition Education Consortium (IPNEC) was founded in 1997.
- Establish a paradigm for Physician Nutrition Specialist® that may attract more physicians into the field
- Establish educational standards for fellowship training of PNSs
- Establish a unified mechanism for certifying PNSs
- Develop a long-term plan to increase the pool of PNSs and surmount obstacles that currently impede the incorporation of nutrition education into the curricula of medical schools and primary-care residency programs