6th Asian Congress of Dietetics (ACD) in Taipei – ICDA participation
  • The 6th Asian Congress of Dietetics held in Taipei, Taiwan, from August 21st to 24th, 2014 was organized by the Chinese Dietetic Society and attended by hundreds of professionals from within and outside Asia.
    Chwang Leh-Chii, President of the 6th ACD and President of the Chinese Dietetic Society, Taipei, welcomed the gathering.  President of Asian Federation of Dietetic Associations (AFDA), Sunard Taechangam from Thailand, in her keynote address, said that in Asia, dietetic
    professional practice is a combination of art, science of nutrition and dietary culture, as well as an integration between the rich traditional knowledge and modern perspectives. Some of the challenging issues for Asian dietetic practice are changes in food system, drastic increase in aging population, increased burden of diet related diseases and natural disasters, opined Dr Taechangam. 
    Some of the ICDA member countries are members of AFDA too – Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.  Delegates from all these countries were present at the Congress, participating in scientific sessions as well as in the Taipei Asia Night, an evening of entertainment and camaraderie. 
    Sandra Capra, University of Queensland, President of ICDA and Chairperson of the Board of Directors, ICDA, addressed the gathering on the opening day, on the Global New Vision for Dietetic Practice & Research.  She emphasized on the importance of research and suggested that research skills should be a part of the dietetics curriculum.  Prof Capra said that the ICDA plans to expand the Code of Good Practice into identified competencies and performance criteria in the next few years.
    Symposia, oral presentations, panel discussions and workshops were organized in parallel sessions.  Symposium topics ranged from How Vegetarian Diet Benefits Health and Ecology, Evolution of Dietitian Education and Accreditation in Asia, to Dietitian Decision Making in Patient Care – Can We Do More, and The 1st Dietetic and Nutrition Forum in Asia – Moving toward International Mobility.  Clinical topics covered cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, renal disease, obesity, critical illness, and so on.  Some of the other topics covered were Nutrition Care for the Aging, Nutraceuticals, Sports Nutrition, School Nutrition Programs, Nutrition Labeling, etc.  A lunch symposium that showcased Taiwan Cuisine and Dietary Culture aimed at foreign participants was unique and well appreciated by the participants. 
    Sylvia Escott-Stump, East Carolina University, USA, and Director on the ICDA Board, spoke in one of the symposia on key elements for a successful dietetics program. 
    Three ICDA Directors, Sandra Capra (Australia), Marsha Sharp (Canada) and Sylvia Escott-Stump (USA), were a part of the panel discussion titled Developing International Qualification and Accreditation of Dietetics Profession.  Sylvia Escott-Stump spoke about the Accreditation Council on Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), which is an agency for education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian-nutritionists or dietetic technicians, registered, in her country.   Marsha Sharp, briefly talked about the competency framework developed in Canada.  Dietetics education accreditation has been a service provided by Dietitians of Canada to Canadian educational institutions and practicum programs for over 20 years.  Sandra Capra said that standards are useful tools but reaching an international agreement is complex process.  The ICDA intends to forge a path that is acceptable to all its members and will draw on expertise within its membership to identify acceptable standards. 
    Marsha Sharp, CEO, Dietitians of Canada, and Director on the ICDA Board, delivered a plenary lecture on the final day of the Congress.  She spoke on Advancing the Dietetic Profession through Participation and Alliance in the Global Community.  In her speech, she traced the history of ICDA, talked about its activities, the advantages of networking within ICDA, forming international partnerships and the challenges that face the organization. 
    The closing ceremony saw an Asian Declaration being signed by the members of AFDA.  Taiwan handed over the ACD baton to Hong Kong which will host the next ACD in 2018.
    Sheela Krishnaswamy
    Editor, Dietetics Around the World