Course brings nutrition into medical education and practice

Group of healthy food ingredients. Overhead view table scene on a wooden background.

January 23, 2024 – Good nutrition is an important component of fighting diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and type 2 diabetes, yet the topic is often overlooked during patients’ visits with doctors. A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health course addresses the issue, focusing on improving how nutrition is taught in medicine and integrated into clinical practice.

“As a cardiologist, I can attest to the fact that nutrition is vastly underutilized in medical practice. I saw the end result of disease that in many cases could have been prevented or the severity lessened, had more attention been paid to nutrition and lifestyle,” said course instructor Stephen Devries, adjunct associate professor of nutrition, in a January 22 article in STAT.

The weeklong course, now in its second year, highlights strategies that have shown success in promoting a focus on nutrition, such as hospital teaching kitchens—where patients can learn how to prepare healthy food—and short assessments that doctors can use before appointments  to find out if patients are experiencing food insecurity.

This January, the course drew two dozen enrollees, including students in medical school and in public health degree programs, as well as health professionals.

“This new generation of emerging physicians and other health professionals seems to be more engaged and interested in nutrition than any that came before it,” Devries said.

Read the STAT article: A Harvard course seeks to put food on the table in medical education

Learn more

Course gives health professionals strategies for offering nutrition advice to patients (Harvard Chan School news)

Photo: iStock/jenifoto