|Country: European Federation of Associations of Dietitians (EFAD)
The DIETS (Dietitians Improving Education and Training Standards) Thematic Network in Europe exists to promote the best possible communication between dietitians and other professionals engaged in health and nutrition, and to disseminate information on areas of dietetic education, work of dietitians and events critical to dietitians in their role as promoters of nutritional health in all settings.
During the past 2 years, the DIETS Thematic Network has been increasingly active. Many exchange visits between teachers of dietetics and practicing dietitians from different European countries have taken place, which have facilitated discussions about the academic and practice placement education of student dietitians.
Two conferences have been organized, the first in Plymouth and the second in Frankfurt, to reflect on dietetic education and share the information collected through the visits, website and newsletters. These conferences have been very successful with the second conference attracting the participation of more than 100 delegates from 23 countries. The 3rd conference will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on the 23 - 24 September, 2009.
Consultation on a draft set of competency statements and performance indicators for dietitians working in Europe attracted responses from 1100 dietitians. The document will be modified in the light of the comments and then disseminated through the national Dietetic Associations for debate and, if agreed, final adoption by EFAD.
Regular DIETS newsletters have been distributed, featuring articles about the education and work of dietitians. During the next year there will also be virtual visits between students from different countries, in which any students are invited to participate. It is hoped this will provide an enriching learning experience for student dietitians and their teachers.
Although this is the final year of the DIETS Project, there is still much to do in promoting high quality dietetic teaching across Europe. A bid for funding a second project (DIETS 2) is being submitted to the EU which, if successful, will sustain the thematic network for the next three years. This will allow some of the many changes that have occurred as a result of DIETS1 to be embedded. It will also enable further development of the undergraduate education of dietitians in Europe and provide the opportunity to support life-long learning and education at second and third cycles.
More information about the activities of DIETS is available onhttp://www.thematicnetworkdietetics.eu