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April 10, 2017

Winners Named for Inaugural Innovation Award for Health Care Provider Training and Education

(NEW YORK, NY) April 10, 2017 – Today, the first-ever Innovation Award for Health Care Provider Training and Education was presented at the Clinton Foundation’s Health Matters Activation Summit in Little Rock, Arkansas. The award recognizes leading health professional training programs that provide innovative nutrition, physical activity, and obesity counseling education to their students.

Statistics show that fewer than 30 percent of medical schools meet the minimum number of hours of education in nutrition and exercise science recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. While 94 percent of physicians agree that nutritional counseling should be a part of the visit with a patient, only 14 percent of doctors feel they have adequate training to do so.

The first recipients of the award are:

  • Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, the first dedicated teaching kitchen to be implemented at a medical school.
  • Healthy Homes, Healthy Futures at Children's National Health System, an obesity-centered home visitation curriculum for pediatric residents in Washington, D.C.
  • KNIGHTS Clinic at Grace Medical Home funded by The Diebel Legacy Fund at Central Florida Foundation, a free clinic run by University of Central Florida College of Medicine students that increases students’ knowledge, skills, and confidence in assessing, managing, and counseling patients with obesity.

“Obesity is the greatest public health threat of our time,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “If we are ever going to reduce the obesity epidemic in our country, we must do a better job of training our health care professionals so they can better counsel the patients they serve.”

“Traditional medical training has been ineffective in equipping the next generation of providers with practical ways to manage or prevent obesity,” said Dr. Kofi Essel, General Academic Pediatrics Fellow at Children’s National Health System. “We created our program to address this issue and focus on the underlying sociocultural factors that are associated with obesity.”

“For the vast majority of Americans, diet is at the core of their illness,” said Dr. Timothy S. Harlan, executive director of the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University. “By changing the dialogue between doctors and patients from a discussion about diet to one about food, we can dramatically lower morbidity and improve mortality outcomes.”

“The bottom line is that lifestyle improvement works, whether we have obesity or not, to prevent disease both chronic and acute,” said Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, associate professor at the UCF College of Medicine and medical director for the KNIGHTS Clinic.

The award was presented by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Bipartisan Policy Center to inspire more schools to strengthen and promote training programs that help tackle obesity, related chronic diseases, and physical inactivity.

The Innovation Award is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Award applications for 2018 will open in the fall. To learn more about the Innovation Award for Health Care Provider Training and Education, visit innovatinghealthcare.org.