A decade and a half ago, in 2003, the Council of Europe published over 100 recommendations to improve nutritional care across European countries and the UK formed an Alliance led by the BDA over 2005-2007 to examine this issue. During this time the BMA passed a priority motion to strengthen nutrition related healthcare. Over two years, representatives from several professional organisations worked through the Alliance resulting in three outputs: a BBC documentary entitled ‘Hungry in Hospital’ around the patient journey, a consensus statement ‘The 10 Key Characteristics of Good Nutritional Care’, principles of which were subsequently enshrined in regulatory standards, and the ‘Department of Health 2007 Nutrition Action Plan’ containing a mandate for the ‘Need for Nutrition Education Project’. NNEdPro was subsequently formed in 2008 with Fellowship funding awarded by the National Institute of Health Research to two founding members in Cambridge, as well as an educational award from Abbott Nutrition to the BDA. Since then, NNEdPro has evolved from a project, through a multifaceted programme to a Global Centre for Nutrition and Health.
Today, we are an award-winning, interdisciplinary think-tank, training academy and knowledge network anchored in Cambridge which provides a centre for global excellence, whilst working without borders. Our work has focused on developing adaptable and scalable models for medical nutrition education combining clinical/public health knowledge with leadership training to aid implementation in healthcare settings. On another hand, we have also undertaken a range of primary research studies and syntheses to fill key evidence gaps. In addition, our international work has defined a common denominator of knowledge required to translate Nutrition to practice in multiple settings, whilst appreciating key regional differences.
One innovative case example can be drawn from India where a capacity building initiative in research naïve but clinically well-trained health professionals, demonstrated that with minimal mentoring, ‘champions’ can generate locally sensitive but internationally publishable research data, which is often lacking in lesser resourced settings. This further led to a stream of work that has combined principles of Nutrition, Research, Education and Leadership to enable a unique health and social innovation model through mobile teaching kitchens, empowering the most marginalised members of society to impact not only their own communities but also across social classes as champions and micro-entrepreneurs around food, nutrition and health.
Our principal hubs are in Cambridge, London, Ulster and Parma. Our international networks, including regional hubs, extend from the Americas, through Africa and South Asia to Australasia. We work via strategic partnerships and key collaborations, connecting both individuals and institutions through membership of our academy as well as working via the members of our 'virtual core' and 'specialised networks'. Working closely with diverse professional groups enables an inter-disciplinary knowledge-base that is greater than the sum of its parts. As we mark a decade of activity it is important to acknowledge those institutions or organisations which form our knowledge vanguard today, amplifying our impact footprint from science to society.
We work closely with academic institutions, including the University of Cambridge, through which we deliver flagship educational courses and actively undertake collaborative research, particularly via senior academic appointments held by our leadership. Our group also holds associate membership of Cambridge University Health Partners and our base for international scholarly exchange is Wolfson College Cambridge. Additionally we have important affiliations with Imperial College London, Ulster University and the University of Parma. We are also closely allied with specialist organisations, such as Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) as well as the British Dietetic Association, which provides access to Dietetic expertise, overall business support and governance oversight to our operations. Further strategic partnerships with specialist organisations include Nutrition in Medicine, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and the LGC Group.
In addition to our strategic partnerships, institutions with which we have significant regional collaborations include, the American Society for Nutrition (working in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health), the University of Waterloo in Canada, the University of Wollongong in Australia as well as the Remedy Clinic and Cordia Group of Educational Institutes in India.
In 2018, along with the BMJ Group, we are delighted to have become co-founders of its first dedicated Nutrition journal, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, which will be an important vehicle for the translation of high-quality open knowledge to strengthen evidence-informed health policy and practice.