An Overview of the ICDA Workshops held at the ICD 2012 in Sydney
  • The ICDA Board of Directors sponsored and led 9 workshops (3 per day) at the ICD.  This was the first time we attempted an ambitious plan.  The workshops were one of the strategies the Board adopted to achieve our key result are of a strong network, by developing the networking and the collaborative action of the Congress.
    The success of the workshops was certainly obvious with each one resulting in lively discussion of the issues.  The outcomes of the workshops with provide a strong base for the next strategic plan of the ICDA.  There was a general feeling that these should continue in some form as they provided a real forum for high level discussion of topics of interest to all dietetics professionals.
    Given here are the recommendations from some of the ICDA workshops. 

    Evidence Based Dietetic Practice – from definition to implementation

    1. Translate the definition and preamble into relevant languages and disseminate to member countries
    2. Incorporate evidence-based dietetic practice definition and basic required skills into international training standards
    3. Create a simple implementation framework that considers identified barriers
    4. Facilitate partnerships and networks amongst member countries related to research and evidence based practice guidance
    5. Foster sharing of best practices amongst member countries

    Minimum standards for dietetics education and practice – towards a common goal around the world

    1. Move from defining dietitian by the name as opposed to the role (based on a country basis).  For example – in Pakistan they have 0.1 dietitians per 100,000 of the population, whereas in Japan there is 42 – leads to different work roles.
    2. >70% of 39 member countries have professional title registered/protected by law (n=28) 2012
    3. Compulsory practicum program – no practicum = 3 (in 2002 this was much higher); Compulsory practicum = 35 (92%)
    4. 81% (n=30) countries have national standards – represents a challenge in creating change
    5. Should we move to competency based approach and away from a didactic approach? – 28 countries have competencies students must meet to complete their dietetic education program

    Learnings from EFAD

    1. In the EU aim is for equality of healthcare across member states
    2. 3 EU standards – 1 uni (2005), 1 practice placement standard (includes a minimum duration) (2005), and 1 set of competencies at point of qualification – these are minimum standards, each country can go above them
    3. More important to start with the competencies required in a country-specific situation – premature to determine a required set of hours/years before there is additional research
    4. But important to acknowledge that these ‘standards’ are not set in stone – they are aspirational minimum standards – helpful to some countries

    The way forward

    1. That we take these standards and use them as an international competency framework?
    2. Possible that most value from these standards is where the profession is emerging.
    3. Does ICDA want to head towards being an international credentialing organisation as per OT?
    4. Working at a principle level rather than getting too specific will make more sense at the international level.

    The International Confederation of Dietetic Associations – Have your say

    1. Like to know what ICDA does apart from hosting the congress.
    2. Language is a barrier.  Run a few sessions at the congress in at least one or two other languages apart from English.
    3. Bring out an ICDA journal and / or a case study manual which can carry scientific inputs from members.  To be published online.
    4. Give a brief talk about ICDA during the NDA annual meetings, if it’s not being done already. 
    5. Announce resources in DAW regularly (even if it’s a repeat).
    6. Provide a list of expert speakers on various topics to all member countries so that the NDAs can invite the experts when required. 
    7. Hold the congress once in 2 years.  Encourage regional meetings.
    8. Organise the annual general meeting in a member country along with a short scientific symposium so that the regional members benefit. 
    9. Help more countries join ICDA or establish dietetic groups. Get Africa, South America and Middle East more involved.
    10. ‘Dot’ all the member countries in the picture on the NDA page.
    11. Identify centres of excellence / fellowship residency in member countries and publish the information on the website.

    Advancing the profession – marketing dietitians and dietetics in the international arena

    1. Dietetics is not recognized world-wide as a profession but seen more as a job.
    2. More work needed on minimum international standards to allow greater career mobility.
    3. Identify countries and representatives for more countries in Africa, South America and the Middle East.
    4. Develop marketing materials for use with employers, governments, other professions about the benefits of hiring qualified dietitians.

    International workforce – supply and demand

    1.  ICDA should help NDAs reach agreement on minimum standards and competencies to be a dietitian/nutritionist; maybe assess the differences between countries and have it available to those persons wishing to move.
    2. Define “accreditation” and come to international agreement.  Then allow transparency so there are no surprises when one wishes to move.
    3. Set up a clearinghouse with information and contacts to help people who are moving with expectations into the new country.
    4. Develop a checklist to use when comparing one country’s competencies with another.  Support development of modular content which can be studied / tested to move to new practice areas.
    5. Promote the inclusion of a foreign language for undergraduate electives.
    6. Develop approved international supervised practice placements/internships. Include areas of the world where dietitians are not already over-tasked with preceptor roles.
    7. Develop a network to support students/faculty who want to do research in other countries.
    8. Add descriptions to the country profiles that describe whether or not each nation’s educational programs include clinical, foodservice, and/or public health nutrition content.