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A Novel Method of Increasing Medical Student Nutrition Awareness and Education
Medical nutrition education in most US medical schools is lacking, despite an epidemic of lifestyle related chronic conditions and high rates of malnutrition in hospitals. In a unique response to this deficit, students at Boston University School of Medicine have created a novel student interest group entitled Student Nutrition Awareness and Action Council (SNAAC). This student group is unique in that it focuses on inter professional collaboration and development of concrete practice skills and works to fill educational gaps. The goal of SNAAC is to increase medical student knowledge, attitude, and skills in medical nutrition through providing extracurricular activities and partnering with official medical school curriculum committees. To accomplish this, SNAAC has developed a multipartite group overseen by a mentoring team composed of a physician nutrition specialist, registered dietitian, and a mental health provider. SNAAC provides nutrition oriented opportunities for members and the student body at large. Participation is high because it fills an educational gap, offers a unique focus on expanding nutrition awareness and education, and provides opportunities for student leadership and professional development. We encourage other medical schools to use the SNAAC student involvement model to increase nutrition awareness and facilitate the incorporation of medical nutrition in their curriculum.
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