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Equipping Future Generations of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Public Health Nutritionists: A Commentary on Education and Training Needs to Promote Sustainable Food Systems and Practices in the 21st Century

Published:January 06, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2017.10.024
      Calls for reform in public health education over the last 100 years have focused on the practical training and education of physicians, the group that dominated the public health workforce in the early 20th century.
      • Frenk J.
      • Chen L.
      • Bhutta Z.A.
      • et al.
      Health professionals for a new century: transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world.
      • Fried L.P.
      • Begg M.D.
      • Bayer R.
      • Galea S.
      MPH Education for the 21st century: motivation, rationale, and key principles for the new Colombia public health curriculum.
      A central argument for reform is that for practitioners to be effective in protecting and promoting health, professional education needs to keep pace with current and evolving challenges. Fried and colleagues
      • Fried L.P.
      • Begg M.D.
      • Bayer R.
      • Galea S.
      MPH Education for the 21st century: motivation, rationale, and key principles for the new Colombia public health curriculum.
      identify globalization and urbanization as challenges facing today’s public health workforce, which now includes a broad range of practitioners focused on population-level prevention and interventions that address the determinants of health rather than the treatment of disease.

      Hughes R, Margetts BM. Practical Public Health Nutrition, 1st ed. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell; 2011.

      Among the broader group of public health providers, the activities and core functions of registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) and public health nutritionists (PHNs) are noteworthy concerning food and nutrition actions and include planning nutrition interventions, evaluating the effect of policies, and developing strategies to address food-related problems. Increasingly, there is also a need for action to address food system problems.

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      Biography

      J. Wegener is an assistant professor, School of Nutrition, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.