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“Nutrition is the next big thing for health systems” –

“Nutrition is the next big thing for health systems” – From the 4th Annual Meeting of the NNEdPro ANZ Regional Network

Newcastle, December 2019

Written by Breana Lepre

Digital support by Michael McGirr and Matheus Abrantes

Edited by Eleanor Beck, Jennifer Crowley, Melissa Adamski and Sumantra Ray

Check out some photos over the duration of our stay.

On 2nd December 2019, NNEdPro, the Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, in partnership with the Nutrition Society of Australia and BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, held the 4th annual meeting of the ANZ NNEdPro Regional Network at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The meeting was well attended by over 30 dietitians, nutritionists, geneticists, medical practitioners, academics and representatives from health and professional associations including the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine.

Titled “Advocacy, Implementation & Application”, the workshop aimed to update new and existing members of the NNEdPro ANZ Regional Network of the important work being done to strengthen the nutrition-related capacity of the healthcare workforce within the region and beyond. The focus of the workshop was on nutrition competencies for all health professionals, including methodologies for the development of competency standards. Examples from different professional organisations and existing nutrition competency standards and strategies were shared as case studies for adoption. The opening remarks were delivered by ANZ NNEdPro steering committee member, Professor Caryl Nowson, from Deakin University and Professor Sumantra Ray, Founding Chair and Executive Director of NNEdPro. Following the opening remarks, an interdisciplinary range of experts presented their knowledge on what health professionals may be able to deliver to improve health, given the opportunities. Methodologies on existing nutrition competencies for medicine, nutrition scientists and dietitians were all discussed (Robyn Perlstein, A/Prof Susan Torres and Professor Eleanor Beck). Dr Michelle Reiss, a general practitioner focusing on healthy lifestyle discussed the simple messages that may be required for individuals. Professor Jane Conway described the difficulties for nurses in being the “doer” in all aspects of patient care and encouraged the audience to consider the realities of practice when promoting nutrition competencies for health professionals. Finally, Dr Emma Beckett challenged us to consider the practice versus the promise for nutrition and diet and genetics.

Dr Jennifer Crowley drew us back to consider the current status of nutrition education for medicine and how best to advocate for, implement and promote nutrition education in health professionals. This provided the perfect segue to the latter part of the workshop, where attendees were divided into smaller groups for discussion. Stimulative discussion groups were facilitated by A/Prof Lauren Ball, from Griffith University, and Professor Clare Wall, from Auckland University on Nutrition in Medical Education for 2020-2025. The provocative discussion focused on strategic advocacy for nutrition in health systems – a top-down approach to integrating nutrition in medical education in Australia and New Zealand and on activities required to achieve the NNEdPro vision of equitable, accessible and adequate nutrition education for all medical students and professionals. The discussion groups provided a platform for inspiring discussion for a pathway for future impact in this space, such as a policy tool for more comprehensive integration of nutrition into ANZ medical schools.

After the group activity, Professor Sumantra Ray presented a summary and future direction for the NNEdPro global strategy, from the WHO capacity building blueprint to interdisciplinary mobile teaching kitchens, an innovative intervention which has shown to be effective at improving students’ dietary behaviours and competency in nutrition counselling.

There is a promising future for the status of nutrition in health systems, with attendees leaving the workshop with a renewed sense of vigour for the vision of NNEdPro, which seeks to improve the health of individuals, families and populations by weaving nutrition into medical and health care systems.

We thank all new and existing ANZ NNEdPro Regional Network steering committee members and workshop attendees for their contributions and dedication. If you would like to know more about the ANZ NNEdPro Regional Network visit: . For information on the upcoming NNEdPro Summit or Summer School 2020, held in Homerton College at the University of Cambridge in July 2020, please visit:

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