Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the methodology and content of nutrition education during gastroenterology fellowship training and the variability among the different programs.
Methods: A survey questionnaire was completed by 43 fellowship training directors of 62 active programs affiliated to the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, including sites in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The data were examined for patterns in teaching methodology and coverage of specific nutrition topics based on level 1 training in nutrition, which is the minimum requirement according to the published North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition fellowship training guidelines.
Results: The majority of the teaching was conducted by MD-degree faculty (61%), and most of the education was provided through clinical care experiences. Only 31% of the level 1 nutrition topics were consistently covered by >80% of programs, and coverage did not correlate with the size of the programs. Competency in nutrition training was primarily assessed through questions to individuals or groups of fellows (77% and 65%, respectively). Program directors cited a lack of faculty interested in nutrition and a high workload as common obstacles for teaching.
Conclusions: The methodology of nutrition education during gastroenterology fellowship training is, for the most part, unstructured and inconsistent among the different programs. The minimum level 1 requirements are not consistently covered. The development of core curriculums and learning modules may be beneficial in improving nutrition education.