With numerous collaborations in the works and a move to a new home at St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge with an additional presence at Addenbrooke's Hospital, the Need for Nutrition Education/Innovation Programme (NNEdPro) celebrates ten years of promoting best practice in nutrition education as it has evolved into a Global Centre for Nutrition and Health aligned with the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-25. As part of the 10th anniversary celebrations, they will offer a residential summer school in Applied Human Nutrition at Wolfson College, followed a few days later by the 4th Annual International Summit: Conference on Medical and Public Health Nutrition Education and Research.
Founded in 2008 medical doctors, Wolfson Fellow Professor Sumantra (Shumone) Ray and Wolfson College Research Associate Dr Minha Rajput-Ray, NNEdPro has spent the last decade working across the globe to discover the most effective ways of meeting the need for greater nutrition education in the training of health care professionals. Professor Ray is also a Registered Public Health Nutritionist and works for the Medical Research Council as a Senior Clinician Scientist in Nutrition and Vascular Studies as well as the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey Lead Clinician. He is now a project lead in Nutrition and Health for a Global Challenges Programme (2017-20) award to the University of Cambridge by UK Research and Innovation.
Originally funded with Fellowship grants from the National Institute of Health Research, the impetus for NNEdPro stemmed from work done by the British Dietetic Association that resulted in a guide to best practice for nutrition in health care 'The 10 Key Characteriestics of Good Nutritional Care', now enshrined in NHS hospital standards and the 'Department of Health 2007 Nutrition Action Plan'. Since then, NNEdPro has continued to develop scalable models for medical nutrition education and to find innovative ways of transferring nutrition in practice to multiple settings internationally.
As Professor Ray says, "Both Minha and I had training in nutrition in addition to our medical education, and this really opened our eyes to the fact that nutrition is the hidden piece that influences clinical outcomes in almost every branch of medicine. It is very often is everybody's interest but nobody's responsibility. This can be traced back about eight decades when the dietetic profession emerged and there was an inadvertent uncoupling of knowledge about nutrition from medical training."
NNEdPro's ties with Wolfson are strong. Dr Minha Rajput-Ray, who is NNEdPro's Medical Director, is a College Research Associate. Pauline Douglas, RD is NNEdPro's Vice-Chair and Education Director and has been a Visiting Scholar and College Research Associate at Wolfson. Dr Daniele Del Rio, NNEdPro Scientific Director, has also been a Visiting Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Wolfson; he is also Associate Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Parma. Many other NNEdPro Members have also been part of an academic visitor scheme at Wolfson over 2015-17. The Lord Balfe of Dulwich is the Honorary President of NNEdPro and a Senior Member of Wolfson.
Professor Ray still works in the NHS as a medical doctor one day per week; he feels being involved in clinical work is important, he is also a researcher and educator. Often on the road, he recently delivered lectures in Singapore, Brunei and Australia. He recently appeared on BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme.
Summer school and Summit
The Cambridge Summer School in Applied Human Nutrition will take place at Wolfson College from 14-18 July. Organised in collaboration with the University Institute of Continuing Education, where Dr Ray is the Course Director in Nutrition Science, the programme is a train-the-trainers course that covers basic concepts in human nutrition as well as research methods, disease prevention and the role of nutrition in healthcare and public health and policy.
Professor Ray describes the summit as "an annual focal point through which we can bring together case studies of good practice, share learning across borders and have a much higher impact factor than we would have if we were working in silos, which is often the case in academia."
The summer school will be followed by NNEdPro's fourth annual summit, the Conference on Medical and Public Health Nutrition Education and Research, which will be held at Wolfson College and the Biomedical Campus at Addenbrooke's.
At the Summit, leading healthcare knowledge provider the British Medical Journal (BMJ) will launch a new online journal, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. Co-owned with NNEdPro, the journal is dedicated to publishing high quality, peer reviewed articles that focus on diet, exercise and healthcare technology on health and wellbeing.
Fiona Godlee, Editor of the British Medical Journal said in an interview on BBC Radio 4's the Food Programme, "I think it's time we recognised that food and nutrition are core to health. There is a growing body of research out there that needs to be published in an open-access and high-quality journal, and we want to contribute to that."
The deadline to submit posters and essays for the conference is 20 June.
Mobile teaching kitchens
Under the direction of Dr. Minha Rajput-Ray, NNEdPro has launched a project to bring nutrition knowledge to the slum areas of Kolkata, India. The Teaching Kitchens for Health initiative offers workshops with women and children from the slums to transfer knowledge about how to create local, affordable, nutritionally balanced meals. Dr Rajput-Ray says, "This is a model for social innovation and improved health outcomes which we are carefully evaluating with other colleagues from the education side of Cambridge University to measure impact, adaptability and scalability for other resource-challenged settings." They have also outfitted a van in order to make the initiative mobile (picture at right). You can see more photos of the Feb, 2018 launch on the NNEdPro Flickr pages.