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Towards an international system of professional recognition for public health nutritionists: a feasibility study within the European Union

  • Jennifer Davies (a1), Roger Hughes (a2) and Barrie Margetts (a3)
Abstract
AbstractObjective

To test the feasibility of a pan-European professional recognition system for public health nutrition.

Design

A multistage consultation process was used to test the feasibility of a model system for public health nutritionist certification. A review of existing national-level systems for professional quality assurance was conducted via literature review and a web-based search, followed by direct inquiries among stakeholders. This information was used to construct a consultation document circulated to key stakeholders summarising the rationale of the proposed system and inviting feedback about the feasibility of the system. Two consultation workshops were also held. The qualitative data gathered through the consultation were collated and thematically analysed.

Setting

Europe.

Subjects

Public health nutrition workforce stakeholders across twenty-nine countries in the European Union.

Results

One hundred and forty-five contacts/experts representing twenty-nine countries were contacted with responses received from a total of twenty-eight countries. The system proposed involved a certification system of professional peer review of an applicant's professional practice portfolio, utilising systems supported by information technology for document management and distribution similar to peer-review journals. Through the consultation process it was clear that there was overall agreement with the model proposed although some points of caution and concern were raised, including the need for a robust quality assurance framework that ensures transparency and is open to scrutiny.

Conclusions

The consultation process suggested that the added value of such a system goes beyond workforce development to enhancing recognition of the important role of public health nutrition as a professional discipline in the European public health workforce.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email roger_hughes@bond.edu.au
Linked references
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2.C Lachat , J Van Camp , S De Henauw et al. (2005) A concise overview of national nutrition action plans in the European Union Member States. Public Health Nutr 8, 266274.

5.R Hughes (2006) A socioecological analysis of the determinants of national public health nutrition work force capacity: Australia as a case study. Fam Community Health 29, 5567.

6.J Dodds & B Polhamus (1999) Self-perceived competence in advanced public health nutritionists in the United States. J Am Diet Assoc 99, 808812.

7.A Fox , C Chenhall , M Traynor et al. (2008) Public health nutrition practice in Canada: a situational assessment. Public Health Nutr 11, 773781.

8.NP Steyn & XG Mbhenyane (2008) Workforce development in South Africa with a focus on public health nutrition. Public Health Nutr 11, 792800.

11.M Lichtveld , J Cioffi , E Baker et al. (2001) Partnership for front-line success: a call for a national action agenda on workforce development. J Public Health Manage Pract 7, 17.

14.R Hughes (2008) Workforce development: challenges for practice, professionalization and progress. Public Health Nutr 11, 765767.

15.M Hager & M Otto (2006) An introduction to government regulations and the profession of dietetics. J Am Diet Assoc 106, 11561158.

18.R Hughes (2003) Public health nutrition workforce composition, core functions, competencies and capacity: perspectives of advanced-level practitioners in Australia. Public Health Nutr 6, 607613.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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