Education of Gastroenterology Trainees: First Annual Fellows' Nutrition Course

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Background and Aims

The degree of nutrition training in gastrointestinal (GI) fellowship programs has not been reported previously, but it is thought to be inadequate. The aim of this study was to determine GI fellows' exposure to nutrition and to assess nutrition knowledge and practice behaviors before and after completing a live nutrition course.


This course was geared specifically for GI fellows. Nineteen faculty members from the United States and Canada participated. Electronic surveys were sent to each fellow before and after the course. The curriculum consisted of 20 hours of live education. Curriculum was revised when the precourse survey identified a gap in medical knowledge or practice behavior. Knowledge change was assessed by a 20-question survey before and after the course.


Fifty-three fellows participated. Seventy percent reported no inpatient nutrition rotation. Seventy percent had never written a total parenteral nutrition or total enteral nutrition orders, and 12% had treated a home enteral or parenteral patient. Ninety percent had no outpatient nutrition or obesity rotation experience, and 59% had no core nutrition lecture series at their program. Eighty-seven percent had never been assessed for competency in nutrition, and 9% had completed a nutrition research project. Too few mentors, poor exposure, and a predominant focus on endoscopy were reasons cited for not pursing nutrition training. Knowledge change after the course was assessed; the mean correct response rates were 58% before and 88% postcourse.


There is a considerable deficiency in nutrition training in GI programs. The established American Gastroenterological Association nutrition curriculum guidelines and core competencies are not being fulfilled in most programs. The curriculum of this course resulted in increased knowledge and improved nutrition practice behavior. There is a need for more nutrition training for our GI fellows.

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