Do internists, pediatricians, and psychiatrists feel competent in obesity care?: Using a needs assessment to drive curriculum design

  • Jay M
  • Gillespie C
  • Ark T
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Physicians must effectively evaluate and treat obesity. To design a needs-driven curriculum intended to improve patient outcomes, physicians were surveyed about their self-perceived knowledge and skills. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the expressed needs of residents and faculty regarding obesity care training across three specialties. DESIGN: The study used a survey given to faculty and residents in General Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry. METHODS: Survey questions were generated from comprehensive nutrition curriculum and clinical recommendations, administered online, and then organized around a validated behavioral health framework-the 5As (assess, advise, agree, assist, arrange). Analyses were conducted to evaluate differences in perceived knowledge and skills between specialties and across training levels. RESULTS: From an overall response rate of 65% (65 residents and 250 faculty members), nearly 20% reported inadequate competency in every item with 48% of respondents reporting an inability to adequately counsel patients about common treatment options. Internists reported the lowest competency in arranging referrals and follow-up. Psychiatrists reported the lowest competency in assessment skills. CONCLUSIONS: This survey demonstrated a critical need for training in specific areas of obesity care. The proposed curriculum targets these areas taking into consideration observed differences across specialties.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Curriculum
  • Medical education (education, medical)
  • Obesity
  • Obesity care
  • Weight loss

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  • Melanie JayNew York University School of Medicine

  • Colleen Gillespie

  • Tavinder Ark

  • Regina Richter

  • Michelle McMacken

  • Sondra Zabar

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