Japan Launches Dietitian Training Program in Vietnam
  • In Japan, the history of dietitians started in 1926, when Dr. Tadasu Saiki, known as “father of nutrition”, established the world first dietitian training school and then named the first graduates as “dietitians”. This happened nearly 90 years ago.
    Last year, the Department of Nutrition was established for the first time in Vietnam at Hanoi Medical University with the efforts of Prof. Shigeru Yamamoto at Jumonji University and Ajinomoto Co., Inc. This formed the first step in the history of dietitians in Vietnam. The signing ceremony for the academic exchange agreement was organized at Hanoi Medical University on March 24 2014, where the representatives from Jumonji University, Kanagawa University of Human Services and the Japan Dietetic Association in Japan, and those from Hanoi Medical University and National Institute of Nutrition in Vietnam participated to establish a dietitian system in Vietnam. 
    In Vietnam, there is no qualification process for dietitians. In a clinical setting, dietary guidance is provided by medical doctors and nurses based on their experience and reading about nutrition on their own. Prof. Shigeru Yamamoto, an organizer of this project, says that “Eating problem in Vietnam is similar to that of Japan. Both countries experienced post-war poverty and then achieved economic development. However, Vietnam now faces the double burden of malnutrition where under-nutrition and obesity co-exist. I would like to develop manpower to solve these problems”. The academic exchange agreement declares not only exchange of students and physical support by teachers but also implementation of collaborative research and exchange of academic publications and cultural information.  As a part of this agreement, 20 university teachers will be sent to Vietnam in September 2014 to start the original curriculum at Hanoi Medical University.
    The Japan Dietetic Association (JDA) will also be providing support with    recommendation of teachers, coordination with other relevant institutions, and financial support for four years. Prof.Tatsushi Komatsu, President of JDA, says, “In Japan, the registered dietitian system started in 1962, with only 50 students. I heard that about 50 students enrolled in the Department of Nutrition at Hanoi Medical University last year. I expect that conclusion of this agreement will expedite development of dietitian training system in Vietnam and also that the trained graduates will contribute to improvement in Quality of Life (QOL) among Vietnamese people. We shall provide support for the training of dietitians as much as we can”.
    Our collaboration utilizes the combined strength of Jumonji University, Kanagawa University of Human Services, Ajinomoto Co., Inc. and the Japan Dietetic Association.  The challenge towards the development of a packaged curriculum for training dietitians based on 90 years’ history in Japan and its export to Vietnam has just started. Your kind attention on the progress of our project will be highly appreciated.
    Yasuhiro Kido
    Director of Academic and Scientific Research Department
    Japan Dietetic Association
    Speech by Prof. Tatsushi Komatsu
    (President of JDA)
    Memorable first step by Japan and Vietnam
    Buffet party after the signing ceremony Representatives from five institutions/universities
    signed in the agreement

    Students of Hanoi Medical University
    also participated in the signing ceremony