Tag Archives: medical education

5 Topics You Can’t Miss at the 29th Annual World Congress

In just one week, the 29th Annual World Congress will be underway! We hope you will be joining us live in Las Vegas between December 9-12, 2021, for the medical education event of the year hosted by world-renowned industry leaders. In line with A4M’s mission to equip clinicians and other medical professionals with the most clinically current advanced education, this year’s conference will deliver a packed agenda of the most relevant topics in advanced integrative medicine education.

The premier event will delve into the numerous challenges and changes that have occurred in the last two years and highlight emerging opportunities in the health care field. Themed “The Next Chapter: Unmasking the Hidden Epidemic,” this year’s World Congress will address the crises within our medical system that have left patients and health care professionals neglected, and our shared communities vulnerable. Attendees will leave with forward-thinking expert insights to help them confidently lead the next chapter in health care with comprehensive knowledge, innovative care strategies, and invaluable tools. 

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Nutrition Education Deficit Among Physicians

 Despite the continuous medical focus on obesity, nutrition, and diet-related diseases, many internal medicine training programs still lack comprehensive nutrition education modules, leaving residents and physicians inadequately equipped to handle many related conditions – including the pervasive obesity health crisis. A commentary published in JAMA Internal Medicine in July underscores the persisting need for nutrition knowledge for today’s physicians.

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The Necessity of Nutrition

With over two-thirds of Americans considered to be overweight or obese, the global obesity epidemic shows no signs of slowing. As diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise, in addition to spikes in other lifestyle-related disorders, it becomes increasingly critical to maintain education surrounding healthy living habits. Yet while physicians are generally considered to be reliable sources regarding nutrition, more than 50% of graduating medical students continue to rate their knowledge as ‘inadequate,’ and only one in eight patients receives counseling from their doctors on dietary health benefits.

A study found that the majority of cardiologists lack current, up-to-date education surrounding nutrition and diet. A report published by the American Journal of Medicine, authored by a dozen healthcare professionals in the United States and Spain, titled “A Deficiency of Nutrition Education and Practice in Cardiology” details that less than a third of cardiologists describe their nutrition knowledge as “mostly up to date” or better. Indeed, while the leading cause of premature death and disability in the United States is heart disease, most cardiologists report inadequate training in nutrition. “Using nutrition as medicine is probably one of the most cost effective ways to treat disease but is incredibly underutilized by healthcare providers,” explained Andrew Freeman, M.D., a cardiologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, and one of the study’s co-authors. “If we could empower healthcare providers with information on how to implement this in daily practice, we could transform healthcare rapidly, prevent healthcare cost explosions, and reduce morbidity and mortality.”

Ninety percent of cardiologists surveyed reported receiving no or minimal nutrition education during cardiovascular fellowship training; 59 percent reported no nutrition education during international medicine training; 31 percent reported no nutrition education throughout medical school. Almost two-thirds of all surveyed cardiologists reported spending three minutes or less per visit discussing nutrition with their patients.

Moreover, another study designed to quantify the required number of hours of nutrition education at U.S. medical schools, in addition to an investigation regarding the types of courses offered, reaffirmed the supposition that medical students receive an inadequate amount of nutrition education. Only 27% of surveyed schools required a course dedicated to nutrition; on average, U.S. medical schools only offer 19.6 hours of nutrition education—across four years of medical school. Other informal polls and anecdotes uphold the studies’ findings, as students assert that nutrition education throughout medical school is, at best, minimal.

Throughout the past several decades, there has been a push towards improving the medical nutrition education that students receive. With suboptimal knowledge about dietary habits, future physicians are selling both themselves and their patients very short. It is imperative to equip health practitioners with the necessary tools and information that they can utilize in their practices, ultimately addressing the root causes of real, pervasive problems. Medical schools have the burden of responsibility to arm their graduates with the tools to tackle the biggest, most acute global health challenges: including obesity and nutrition problems.