Partnerships and Collaborations

One of the highlights of teaching and training that merits special mentioning is the interdepartmental cooperation between the Department and other departments/disciplines in the Faculty. Tuition in nutrition (presented by the Department) is more prominent than ever before in the MBChB curriculum; so too in the MSc (Sport Medicine) programme, and in the School of Health Systems and Public Health. A postgraduate module in Applied Nutrition has been developed by the Department as part of a multi-professional training programme (master's degree) in Early Childhood Intervention. This is a two-year distance education course and is […Web-CT driven….]. This is also true of the successful establishment and expansion of interdisciplinary research. Undergraduate and postgraduate research is presented annually on Faculty Day. Interfaculty collaboration with sport sciences (including nutrition teaching and research on nutrition by the division) has also become well established.

Close ties have also been forged since 1994 with colleagues at other universities, nationally and internationally, especially through reciprocal external examining at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. This cooperation has been strengthened further during national and international congresses and symposia, and by receiving academics and colleagues as guest speakers and guest lecturers in the Department of Human Nutrition. During 1998-2000, the division formed part of a consortium of nine South African universities (responsible for dietetics training) that successfully completed contract research on the food consumption of South African children (0-9 years old) and submitted the findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the national Department of Health. This same consortium was responsible for monitoring the impact of the food fortification programme; the data collection commenced in January 2005 and the final report was submitted to the Department of Health in 2007/2008.

Staff members are involved in different professional associations, and also in the journal published by the professional association (ADSA). They serve on the national and local management and in the editorial panel of the latter associations, as well as on the Professional Board for Dietetics . They attend symposia and congresses regularly and present papers or research reports. The research focuses on understanding and explaining human behaviour regarding nutrition, aspects of applied human nutrition and clinical/therapeutic nutrition, as well as the establishment of standards for Dietetics practice. Journal meetings and academic discussions have been successfully established and are attended monthly by dietitians of various training hospitals. Continuous professional development is maintained in this way.

In 2000 two academically outstanding postgraduate projects were also successfully completed in collaboration with the University of Ghent in Belgium. Since 2002 selected undergraduate students in dietetics from the Sint Lieven Hogeshool (Ghent) do 6 to 12 weeks elective training in the Department.

Community Outreach

Community-based Education (CBE) is a core element of the BDietetics degree and all other courses offered by the Faculty of Health Sciences. All students need to learn important skills by doing practical sessions in community settings, and not only in academic hospitals. Several rural as well as urban service learning platforms are in use at present. This supports teaching plus training in the primary health care approach. 

Students on various student committees help to initiate and manage several community service projects. These projects focus on benefiting the community, for example by donating toys to needy nursery schools, presenting workshops for the staff of pre-primary schools for children with disabilities and raising funds for children's homes. Students also work with disabled children in the community.

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