Today’s post comes from Lindsay Leduc (& excerpt from Lee Rysdale). Lindsay is a Registered Dietitian and a medical student at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. She is also the current Recruitment Coordinator of the CON-SNP National Executive. You can find more about Lindsay here!
Many describe learning in medical school as trying to drink from a firehose. There are many things to learn and only a small amount of time to attempt to retain and consolidate an abyss of information. Unfortunately, one major constituent missing from said firehose is education on nutrition and weight management. We know that 60% of the factors that influence health and quality of life are related to lifestyle (1). We also know that many chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, mental health, and so on are highly linked to nutrition and lifestyle, and yet, future of health care providers are not being adequately trained to address these topics and issues. We can proficiently describe the physiological basis of hypertension and prescribe the recommended antihypertensives, yet we are incompetent and uncomfortable giving the lifestyle and nutrition recommendations that are pertinent to our patients’ condition. There is currently a disconnect between our medical education and what patients really need from their health care providers.
At first, I thought that this was an issue of our education being “outdated” and that the curriculum was behind the times. But I noted that we are on par when it comes to the newest medications available, imaging study technologies, and cancer treatments and biologics. Therefore, it is not the education, but the culture around medical education that needs an overhaul. Society looks very different than it did 30 or 40 years ago, yet we still value the pharmacological “quick-fixes” over re-evaluating the bigger picture changes that have occurred that need to be addressed.