By Nick Groch
My name is Nick Groch, RDN, LDN, and I am director of nutrition systems for the UChicago Medicine health system and clinical nutrition manager at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial in Harvey, Illinois. As a manager overseeing a team of registered dietitian nutritionists, as well as supporting our hospital’s dietetic internship program, malnutrition identification and treatment with evidenced-based practices is a major priority area for our department.
I had been involved in facilitating ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness WeekTM efforts at previous organizations and saw the potential this week-long effort could have in promoting malnutrition awareness at my new hospital. As malnutrition continues to be a national epidemic, events like Malnutrition Awareness Week continue to provide a platform for nutrition professionals to fight for these often-neglected patients. Nutrition care has come a long way over the decades, but we still have a long way to go to ensure our medical providers are as in tune to what malnutrition looks like as we RDNs are. Malnutrition Awareness Week is a fantastic opportunity to not only highlight the impact malnutrition has on patients and patient outcomes, but to also provide these important educational resources to medical providers.
The toolkit provided by ASPEN makes planning for this week of awareness exceptionally easy. From ready to use infographics to provider handouts, there isn’t one piece of material we needed to hand-make!
We partnered with our marketing, medical staff, and patient care services teams to tailor our approach to ensure what we had in mind provided the biggest bang for our buck. This included infographics posted in our physician lounge and café, daily informational tables on malnutrition topics lead by our RDNs, an email blast, and malnutrition educational materials for our providers.
Although malnutrition care is a constant work in progress within our organization, efforts like ASPEN’s Malnutrition Awareness Week provide a platform to offer hyper-focused content to ensure all medical professionals understand the national problem malnutrition has become.
As a nutrition professional, I think everyone in our field should hold Malnutrition Awareness Week activities at their facilities. We have an obligation to provide the best nutrition care we can to our patients—and increasing awareness to this growing problem should be a priority for all nutrition professionals.
Read more ambassador stories.