Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
April 01, 2004
U of G prof to lead research on linking doctors and dietitians
A University of Guelph applied nutrition professor has received more than $700,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to lead a research project to give Ontarians easier access to nutritional services.
Paula Brauer is the principal investigator of “Interdisciplinary Nutrition Services in Family Health Networks: A Demonstration Project,” a collaboration among U of G, the Dietitians of Canada and McMaster University. The funding will allow Brauer and her colleagues to place registered dietitians with three family health teams to promote healthy diets to all patients and specific treatment services to prevent and manage conditions like diabetes, low birth weight and high blood pressure.
“This is a significant new opportunity to set the stage for improved access to nutrition services in family physician offices,” said Brauer. “Because most people visit a doctor, it’s a good place to start for nutrition interventions.” Nutrition is important in the prevention and management of many chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, so it makes sense that when people visit their doctor for these conditions, they should also have access to a dietitian, said Brauer.
In making the announcement, George Smitherman, minister of health and long-term care, said "Ontarians receive even better health care when doctors work more closely with other health-care professionals, like dietitians. By integrating dietitians into front-line health-care teams, we can help people develop healthy eating behaviours and make a real difference to their health and quality of life."
As well as measuring the quality, effectiveness and cost of the new services, her team will produce guidance materials for health-care workers planning to offer nutrition services in their offices. The results of the project will be communicated through websites, workshops and peer-reviewed publications.
The project is one of 45 new primary-care initiatives being launched across the province with the $39.2 million in funding from the federal Primary Health Care Transition Fund. Ontario’s portion of the $800-million fund, which helps provincial and territorial governments strengthen primary-care services, is $213 million.
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