ICD 2012 – A Successful Event of ICDA
  • ICDA’s 16th International Congress of Dietetics (ICD) hosted by Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) was a grand event.  Over 2200 people with a common interest gathered at the Sydney Convention Center at Darling Harbour, Sydney, to be renewed, revitalised and even inspired.  Personal networks were expanded, ideas exchanged, stories and experiences shared, points of view debated.  A great amount of resources (time, effort, money) went into organising this event that will be put to good use by the participants.  ICDA leadership arrived at a deeper understanding about the common ground that defines the dietetic profession and the value that dietitians offer to society. 
     
    To briefly introduce the organisation, ICDA is new but not so new.  It was officially established in 2000 after 50 years of collaboration.  With 43 member countries and nearly 200,000 dietitians connected thru a global network, ICDA supports dietetics associations and their members beyond national and regional boundaries.  Its added value is a global network, an international perspective and a wider sphere of influence for the profession. The ICDA website provides a range of information including a snapshot of each member country and an online newsletter published twice a year. 
     
    The first 10 years of ICDA created systems, tools and events to improve communication amongst us.  It also supported discussion, dialogue and debate to help define our common ground, and promoted awareness and understanding of the contributions of the profession to society.  ICDA agreed upon the following –

    • Definition of Dietitian (2004)
    • International standard of dietetics education (2004)
    • Ethical standards and code of good practice (2008)
    • Evidence-based dietetic practice as a standard of good practice (2011)
    • International model of dietetic practice, in progress

     
    In the last 4 years, the board of ICDA had elected directors from Australia, Canada, India, Spain, UK and USA.  The chairperson, Sandra Capra, was appointed by the Board, and individuals from many countries led our work in many areas:

    • UK - leadership on an international model of dietetic practice in consultation with appointed dietitians around the world
    • UK and India - lead partners on a study of education and work of dietitians around the world that reflects input from most countries
    • Canada - leadership on a definition of Evidence-based dietetics practice in consultation with experts from many countries
    • India – Editor, Dietetics Around the World
    • USA leadership on a standardized language for nutrition and dietetics (IDNT) in consultation with experts from many countries and collaboration on translation into many languages
    • Australia volunteers – hosts of the 16th ICD
    • Spain volunteers – hosts of the 17th ICD (2016)
    • South Africa volunteers – will be hosts of the 18th ICD (2020)
    • Spain – promoting that Spanish speaking national dietetic associations join in
    • Canada – ICDA Secretariat

     
    Accomplishments in the last 4 years include –

    • New international standards providing benchmarks for members in countries who have started the dietetics journey in more recent times.

    • Expansion of Dietetics Around the World with the majority of members now contributing articles each year.

    • New leadership model where the Board has invited individuals and groups to represent us in other ways – expanding our capacity through more depth and breadth of knowledge and added resources

    • Stronger administrative and financial accountability along with legal status provided by incorporation in Canada and the protection offered for members, directors, officers and volunteers.

    • Increase in membership – arriving at 43 members which collectively represent nearly 200,000 dietetics professionals around the world.

    • Greater use of the International Congress of Dietetics to increase understanding of our common ground and shared aspirations.

     
    Several ICDA workshops were held during ICD 2012.  The national dietetic associations discussed 3 key issues and agreed that ICDA should a) continue its important work on international standards with an objective to describe the scope of practice of the profession (in collaboration with members), b) take steps to gain better understanding about international mobility within the profession and the potential for validating credentials across borders and c) advance the profession through use of agreed position statements by engaging the civil society process to advocate on matters important for the health of citizens.
     
    To obtain broader inputs on key issues, nine workshops were held during ICD 2012 to stimulate dialogue and obtain further input on priorities and ideas about how to move forward.

    1. International dietetics workforce
    2. Advancing the profession through marketing
    3. International Accreditation – is there a need?
    4. Advancing the profession using position statements
    5. International Terminology on Nutrition and Dietetics – where to from here
    6. Evidence-based dietetics practice from definition to implementation
    7. Minimum standards for education and practice – where to from here
    8. International model of dietetics practice
    9. Opportunity to meet Board members and have your say

     
    There was no shortage of good ideas, enthusiasm and participation in the workshops and beyond.  As the new board develops the work plan for the next four years, the members can look forward to more interaction and information on the ICDA website www.internationaldietetics.org
     
     
    Marsha Sharp
    ICDA Director and Representative from Canada
    CEO, Dietitians of Canada